I feel bad for Jorge Garcia. Over the past few nights, key members of the Lost cast and crew have been making the rounds on the talk show circuit, trying to drum up some awareness of their cute little show’s upcoming finale. Executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse are getting interviewed by the New York Times‘ entertainment editor. Matthew Fox was relegated to Jimmy Fallon’s show, but even that was an interesting and relatively entertaining interview.
But Jorge? He gets stuck on Lopez Tonight, and boy is it awkward. Lopez does his best to make the interview interesting, but only really seems engaged once the conversation turns to the toilets in the building and hypothetical situations in which Garcia would urinate himself.
When I was in college, I was working for a pop-culture magazine that had assigned me the task of finding and interviewing a middle-aged virgin as a tagalong piece for their review of The 40-Year-Old Virgin. I found a guy online (and oh was that ever a fun thing for which to scour the internet) and conducted an interview that dripped with shame, fear and regret. He tried to put a positive spin on something that plainly upset him; I had to pretend I didn’t recognize his dissatisfaction with his own life choices. He had had no media training. This was very likely his first interview, let alone his first interview with a national magazine from an international imprint, it covered a topic he was ashamed of. To make matters worse for him, it was being conducted by a kid half his age, and he had no way of knowing that I didn’t consider him the butt of a joke. I couldn’t interrupt him to say, “Hey, man, I consider celibacy a perfectly legitimate lifestyle, so don’t worry about my editors making fun of you before this goes to print,” because that just would have made things even less comfortable.
The interview ended up never running, probably because it was awkward and not at all entertaining.
That’s all to say, I know a thing or two about bad interviews. And George Lopez, a seasoned and professional entertainer, in conducting an interview with another seasoned and professional entertainer, was exactly as bad at his job as a 20-year-old editorial assistant talking to a frightened introvert about a delicate and embarrassing topic for a national audience.