You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension: a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You're moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You've just crossed over into... the Discomfort Zone.
Or not. As we all know, my fellow Mercury word slaves seriously dropped the ball when it came to my Discomfort Zone. Instead of selecting juggalo puppets or the screening of my parent's sextape at the Pioneer Square Flicks on the Bricks (such discomfort—I'm really glad they missed that one), my options were some poetry, a picnic with tall people, or popular comedian George Lopez.
Lopez won, but the real winner was me. I've never seen his sitcom, or his talk show, but to me Lopez was a vaguely familiar comedian, probably not as funny as Louis CK, but superior to Jay Leno or Carrot Top.
So how was it?
Eh, it was fine. My comfort level didn't stray far from vague indifference as I sat alone in the balcony of the Keller. Sorry to let you down, I know you all truly wanted me to suffer.
I didn't catch the name of the warm-up comedian (nor could I find him on his site: iamveryterribleatmakingjokes.com) but he was a physical comedian, which meant copious prat falls and goofy running in place (never has a comedian found so many hamfisted ways to make references to dancing the Running Man). Sample jokes: "Shredded Wheat? It should be called Shredded Colon." Or, "The Nutcracker? That thing should be called the Nutpacker." Zing!
You know that really offensive, effeminate gay voice thing? Well, he used it in a bit about a gay ghost that rearranges his furniture (of course he did). Bomby McFallsalot also went out of his way to mention his "hot Latina" wife, which the crowd seem to enjoy. Because nothing seems forced about opening a bit with, "Know what I like? Having sex with my hot Latina wife." You play to the audience you're dealt, so I imagine he'd talk about his black wife if opening for Paul Mooney, or his closeted frat boyfriend (no homo!) when supporting Dane Cook. All in all, Racist Talking Dennis Miller Doll was funnier and more charismatic than this guy.
After bombing (and falling, so much falling) for 25 minutes, Lopez took the stage. His material was pretty pedestrian, albeit a bit dirtier than what I imagine he gets away with on television. While he skipped the effeminate gay voice, Lopez did do a bit about how Asians can't pronounce the letter "L" plus a few dozen "this is how white people do things, but this is how Latinos do them." It sounded a little something like this. The majority of the night felt like it was one long late night television monologue, sans the cameras and backing band. Or the ability to change the channel. It was tolerable, but not exactly funny.
Then about 50 minutes into his set, Lopez dropped the schtick and started discussing (seemingly off-the-cuff) his recent divorce. There were no punch lines or wacky jokes about how white people mispronounce "tortillas" (we're so stupid), instead it was honest commentary on a marriage dissolved, his newfound bachelordom, and genuine observations from a man reinventing himself. It was brief. but excellent, and then a few minutes later it segued into a series of jokes about how dogs love to lick their butts (so true!).
Towards the end of the night, Lopez plugged his upcoming tour with Santana (just like Rob Thomas!), gave a sincere shout-out to Sandra Bullock (she was executive producer of his sitcom), tossed in a few jokes about his racist grandma (granny totally hates blacks) and then vanished from the stage. While I was upset I missed Willie Nelson for this show, it wasn't entirely bad. Not good, but I've definitely had worse.