It was April 23, 1984, when George Lopez woke up on his friend’s couch. He had no money to his name, he had just been fired from his job and he had just gotten kicked out of the home he grew up in. That day happened to be his birthday, and it was also the day Lopez decided to turn his life around and take control of his own destiny:
“I told myself, ‘what the f**k is all this?’ I felt like a loser, and I told myself I wasn’t a loser. So that night — it was a Monday night — I went to the Comedy Store in Westwood and I told myself, ‘I’m not going to quit until something happens. Even if it takes me 30 years, I am not going to quit’.”
This mindset change helped him become a successful comedian. He is one of the most influential Latinos ever, entertaining people on radio, TV and the big screen. But it wasn’t always easy.
“When things got tough, I would [always] quit. I think most people quit when things get hard because that’s the easy thing to do,” he says. “Then I [told myself that] when I quit I’m not hurting anyone but myself. I used to always be afraid of everything, but now I’m not afraid of anything. I’m not afraid to fail and I’m never going to quit. That’s not how you get the things you want.”
Lopez went through times of adversity and refused to let his struggles stop him from getting where he wanted to go. He fought to get into the spotlight. But he still faced challenges. He almost died and needed a kidney transplant to save his life. In 2005, his wife gave him one of her kidney. Five years later, they got divorced. Lopez also struggled with drinking issues in the past.
“People think that when you make it, your life is better,” he says. “The things in your life get better, but it doesn’t make you better. You’re still a person just like everyone else. Money doesn’t make you better; sometimes I think it makes you worse.”
Lopez is very candid when talking about his experiences. His new show,Lopez, which airs on Wednesday nights on TV Land, gives people a glimpse into his life.
“I take an honest look at my life on this show. I have gone through so much – bad and good. And a lot of these stories are too good not to share. Some of the things are too funny or unbelievable. Like, sometimes I try to do something good for people and it ends up backfiring. Or I do something small that I don’t think is a big deal but it becomes one. That’s what my show is about, and it’s something I think my fans will love.”
As Lopez reminisces about moments ranging from being homeless to landing his own 2005 Showtime special, Why You Crying?, his tone changes.
“You know, the biggest lesson I’ve learned in my life — and I’m 55 now — is that nothing is impossible. When I was sick, I got healthy. When I was poor, I worked hard. When I didn’t think my show would go, it went,” he says. “I think that anything you want to do is possible. But you have to want it [badly] enough and work hard. You have to be willing to fail, hit rock bottom, succeed, hit rock bottom again and keep fighting and moving forward.”
His new show is special because it brings you inside the life of a man who at one point had nothing, a man who had every reason to quit and give up on his dream, a man who used to quit every time things got hard but decided to change his mindset and not give up on his dream, a man who made it to the top but still faces struggles today. This show is real, it’s honest and it’s one of the funniest things you’ll see.
This article originally appeared on Askmen.com.