“I didn’t realize that that guy was as old as he is,” says the comedian, who is no stranger to the 86-year-old former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his controversial immigration policies. “I hope to be that racist when I’m his age.”
Sheriff Joe will likely get a mention or two when Lopez brings “The Wall” to the AVA at Casino del Sol on Saturday, May 11.
The show, based on his 2017 HBO standup special, takes President Trump’s proposed wall along the southern border head-on, and without mercy. And it’s the latest example of art diving into politics in the age of Trump.
This spring, Salpointe High School mounted William Mastrosimone’s “Bang Bang You’re Dead,” based on the 1998 mass shooting at Thurston High School in Springfield, Oregon, where a student shot and killed his parents, two students and wounded 25 others.
Tucson High Magnet School staged Tucson playwright Amy Almquist’s original play “Our Border Town,” a documentary-style play retracing true stories of undocumented students and migrants and their interactions with the Border Patrol and the Tucson community. It had a cast and crew of 45.
“One of the goals of this play is to get the human perspective back on this border crisis and to create empathy for the humans that are involved, as opposed to how much strife and stress and conflict that the politics behind it cause,” Tucson High drama teacher Julian Martinez told the Arizona Daily Star.
Lopez has a similar goal with “The Wall.”
“My thing is that the American dream should still be alive and it should be for everybody because that’s been the philosophy of this country,” he said during a recent phone interview. “Most of the people that come here really just want to live a better life. They don’t all have tattoos on their faces that Trump talks about. They do just really want to work in silence and do for their families and live better lives.”
Of course, that message will be wrapped in some pretty salty language. Within minutes of the show opening, Lopez will lay out exactly where he stands on the president in language that we can’t print here.
“The Wall,” filmed live in Washington, D.C., to mark Lopez’s 40th year in standup, aims to dispel some of what he views as conspiracies that Trump and his advisers have been spreading about illegal immigrants, most from Mexico and other Latin American countries.
“I don’t think things are as dire as he says,” said Lopez, 58. “Somehow (Mexicans) have become the linchpins of immigration. No one else, just us. Somebody has to say something because nobody is saying anything.”
Expect to hear Lopez say plenty, including:
- Trump’s border wall: “People ask me, how do you feel about the wall? ‘We’ll get over it.’”
- Countering Trump’s recent comments that immigrant families coming to the border see it as “Disneyland”: “This isn’t Disneyland, and everybody coming over here are having a picnic? When I see people picking artichokes and strawberries, they don’t look to me like they’re having a picnic.”
- Spreading his own conspiracies: “Everything you touch, we touched first. Is it coincidental when a month ago, they were throwing tear gas over the wall into Mexico was the same week that all the lettuce went bad and there was an e coli outbreak? I’m a conspiracy theorist. I think you talk about us, we destroy the things that you love. We hate to do it, but we have to. It’s our only fight-back.”
- Explaining why some Hispanics support Trump: “I believe that anybody that succeeds in our community is perceived as a sellout or that they’ve changed, even in families. So maybe they’re looking for a way out and that would be it. Look at Paul Rodriguez, who came out as a Trump supporter. He was born in Mexico, so I’m not really sure if it was a poker game, what cards you had that make you flip.”
- And, of course, the family observations that built his career over the past 40 years: “When we were growing up , our parents could be mean and nice: ‘Can you do me a favor and get the (expletive) out of this room?’ They were insulting you and being polite.”
“I can’t wait to get back to Tucson. It’s a place that’s been great for me,” he added. “Clearly if you’re a fan of mine, come. But if you’re not, you won’t have a good time and you’re probably a red hat.”
Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4642. On Twitter @Starburch