Archive for July, 2010
Charlotte was going through some of our old Honolulu Comedy Club scrapbook photos and came across one of Hawaiian comedian Bo Irvine with our L.A. comics for the week, George Lopez and Tom McGillen. The photo was taken by the pool at the Maui Marriott where we had a weekly show for 7 years. In the photo, however, you can only see George from the nose up. When we were backstage at the Lopez Tonight filming I told George about the photo and said, “Who knew? Had I known it was going to be you, I would have gotten McGillen from the nose up!”
Bo told George, “If people ask me if I know you, I say I knew George before he was a Mexican.”
George recounted to me a story I had completely forgotten about. He said, “I was working for you the day the Gulf War broke out in 1991. You were supposed to pick me up to do a comedy show at Pearl Harbor, so I called you to tell you that a war started and I don’t think there’s going to be a show. You said, ‘I have a contract. There will be a show.’ When you picked me up I said I really didn’t think there would be a show, but you insisted you hadn’t heard anything and that you had a contract. When we got to the base there was a guard standing at the entrance with a machine gun who kindly informed us that we would not be getting on base that evening. So I said to you, ‘Hey Eddie, why don’t you tell him YOU HAVE A CONTRACT!’”
Bo and I have worked with a lot of comedians who went on later to hit it big. Some had character flaws and we would sometimes hesitate before admitting to knowing them. But George Lopez? A man of the highest character both before stardom hit and after. A man who stands for all that is good and right. And who remembers the wee people he met on his way up.
“Do you know George Lopez?”
Yep, sure do.
Before heading to Los Angeles for our family vacation this summer, I asked my 13 year old daughter what she wanted to do while there. She had one request: To meet George Lopez.
Personally, I think this was more than a I-Want-To-Meet-A-Star request. No, I think I was being tested. She’s thinking, “Okay Dad, you say you know George Lopez from when he worked at your comedy clubs in Hawaii, and that if he saw you again he would remember you. But is it really true?
George Lopez worked our comedy clubs in Hawaii before he hit it big. You never forget the people you meet on the way up.
I called Bo Irvine in Hawaii. Bo, Wanda Shipp, and I are partners at the Comedy Polynesia and Sharkey’s Comedy Club shows at the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani in Waikiki. “Bo, who do you think I should call to get tickets to a filming of Lopez Tonight on TBS?”
“Call Bob Fisher,” he quickly replied. “And get an extra ticket for me. I’ll fly in. Haven’t seen George in years!” Bob Fisher is the owner of the Ice House Comedy & Magic Club in Pasadena, CA and for eight years was our Hawaii comedy consultant.
Bob made a call, Bo booked his flight, my daughter packed her camera. Our entourage descended upon Warner Bros Studios in Burbank for what turned out to be the Lopez Tonight’s 101st taping. Warming up the crowd was comedian-juggler Ron Pearson, who has also toured our comedy clubs in Hawaii. Bob and his wife Barbara joined us, as well as comedienne Kathy Buckley at whose house we stayed one night while in L.A.
The Kid’s Moment came midway through the taping.
Juggler Ron had already noticed that Ice House Bob was in the audience. During one of the show’s commercial breaks, Ron went up on stage and whispered in George’s ear pointing to Bob. George came down into the audience, hugged Bob, kissed Barbara, saw my wife Charlotte and I, big hugs, saw Bo, big hug, and Kathy, too.
“George,” I said, “meet our daughter.” Hug.
Dad delivered. More importantly, Dad passed the test.
As George returned to the stage to introduce his next guest, Jada Pinkett-Smith, he asked us to stick around after the show and come backstage.
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