What was your first act like?

I did my first act the night of my high school graduation. I was embarking on a profession where you had to be entertaining and charming, and I wasn’t equipped to take it all in. I couldn’t take compliments. I was negative.

I read that Chris Rock’s manager told you to reveal more of your personal life in your act. Was that a tough decision?

Well, I was oblivious to the fact that the act had been mundane. I was edgy mundane. Once I started to tap into the dark stuff and the dysfunction of my family, not only did I get a show out of it but I also got a Grammy nomination for the CD Team Leader. I got this Showtime special and the adulation of fans from all over the world. I get letters from Iraq saying, “Team Leader is the only thing getting us through this.”

I know you don’t like to preach about Latino issues, but do you ever hear from fans who want you to preach?

Normally what happens is you get some attack from Latino groups because the material is hard-edged. But it’s based in truth and the truth hurts. My book, Why You Crying?, takes a really hard look at my life. My family doesn’t come out very good, but history is unkind to the unkind. If they would have been nicer, they wouldn’t have had to worry about me dredging up the past.

Why did you choose Cheech Marin as the dad in the long-lost-father episode of your sitcom, George Lopez?

Because I love him to death and he’s a good friend and I thought it would be funny if he played a gay. When I told him on the phone, he laughed for five minutes.

Comedian George Lopez will be performing stand-up at the Frank Erwin Center, in Austin, June 26 and at the SBC Center, in San Antonio, July 24.