George Lopez, a man so popular in Fresno that he could be elected mayor and not even live here, already has established himself as the king of comedy with his record-breaking appearances. He was back in town Saturday night and he brought along some friends as the Comedy Get Down tour rolled into the Save Mart Center.
The all-star lineup joining Lopez included Cedric the Entertainer, D.L. Hughley, Charlie Murphy and Eddie Griffin. Because any of the comics could headline their own show, seeing all the comedy talent on one ticket was like going to a smorgasbord with the finest of cuisines for every dish. And, no one served up the comedy with as much spice as Lopez.
Lopez opened the show immediately proving no one speaks the language of local comedy fans better. Although his set was less joke-driven than Hughley or Griffin, Lopez established a massively high tempo as the opening act.
He also laid the groundwork for the themes that would surface in the sets by the other comedians. The biggest targets were Donald Trump, Caitlyn Jenner and race.
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It was a no-holds-barred barrage, whether it was Lopez firing full barrels at Trump for his stance on Hispanics and for having “child-bearing hips” or talking about why Jenner would want to be a woman at the age of 65 when there are “women who don’t want to be 65-year-old women.” (Jenner is 66, having a birth date of Oct. 28, 1949.)
Lopez slammed Arnold Schwarzenegger for being Trump’s replacement on “The Celebrity Apprentice.” He also turned his spicy wit on Latinos, talking about how they are less sympathetic than other races. Lopez dished up jokes about how Mexicans have no idea what gluten is, but “if it’s free we’ll take it.”
Lopez handed the stage over to Murphy. The comedian took what could have easily been generic material and adapted it for the Fresno appearance. He joked that when he checked into his hotel, a man told him there was a rapper by the name of “Chocolate Rhymes” who wanted to meet him.
“I thought maybe Busta Rhymes had a cousin who lived in Fresno,” Murphy joked.
That was followed by his own attack on Trump. Murphy pointed out everyone was laughing when Trump first announced he would run, and now no one is laughing. His theory is that after eight years of a black president, the really racist people went out to find an Archie Bunker-type person to run.
“You had better get your ass out to vote,” Murphy said.
As for Jenner, Murphy was appalled that she won an award for courage. He believes that all of the men and women who have fought for this country, many of them Wounded Warriors, are the real heroes and not “some 75-year-old man in pumps.”
Griffin continued the Trump line of comedy. As he prowled around the stage in an electric blue outfit, Griffin revealed first that he wasn’t going to vote this year because all of the candidates are bad and then said he would vote for Obama again.
“If Donald Trump wins, I am moving to Africa because slavery will make a comeback,” Griffin said.
The comic who stole the night was Hughley. After commenting on the local heat, he launched into a set that took him all over the comedy map, with each joke funnier than the one before. Hughley lamented that Prince had died but Bobby Brown looks healthy. His shots at Trump included saying having Trump win the presidency would be like Flavor Flav “winning a spelling bee.”
Hughley went after the medical field (“my doctor’s office smells like curry”), having Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill (“At least they didn’t put her on food stamps”) and Jenner (“She looks more like Mrs. Doubtfire to me”).
His comedy based on his childhood was the sharpest, especially in connection with NFL running back Adrian Peterson getting suspended for beating his child with a switch. Hughley said what is seen as abuse marks today are what his mother called marks for “someone who wasn’t listening.”
Hughley ended his set by picking on a group seated in the front row to the south end of the stage. After asking if they were there as part of a telethon or field trip, Hughley pointed out that one person was wearing glasses so thick “you could have watched the show from Visalia.”
Midway through Cedric the Entertainer’s 25-minute set, the show was disrupted by an altercation in the seats just off the southeast corner of the small stage.
“You got a fight with your price of admission,” Cedric said.
When not doing play-by-play of the audience tussle, Cedric took shots at hip hop artist Fetty Wap for having trouble riding a motorcycle.
“He only has one eye. You need your peripheral vision on a motorcycle,” Cedric said.
Cedric also revealed how the Beyonce song “Single Ladies” can be used to out someone you think might be gay.
A weird aspect of the night was that the stage was set up closer to the west end of the Save Mart Center instead of in the middle. Most of the comedians focused on playing to the small end, leaving the majority of the audience to either watch their backs or the giant monitors.