Lopez is a new show on TV Land in which comedian and actor George Lopez plays a fictionalized version of himself. Reno native Hayley Huntley, who graduated from Reno High School in 2007, plays Olivia “Olly” Michaels, Lopez’s manager. The show airs on TV Land every Wednesday at 10 p.m. It can also be found on TVLand.com.
How long have you been down in L.A.?
I went to college here from 2007 to 2011. I went to [the University of Southern California]. I did not study theater, but I did almost exclusively theater extracurriculars, and I was in a college improv troupe, and that was kind of my first moment in comedy. But for 2012, I moved home to Reno and did plays at Reno Little Theater.
I did two plays. I did one called Private Lives, and I did Death of a Salesman, and I also just pitched in generally everywhere, and got a glimpse of a very happy life I could lead doing theater in Reno. And then, at the last minute, I moved back to L.A. to try auditioning. That was in 2013. I moved to L.A. again to try this whole thing as a career, which kind of freaked me out before, because I had a preconception of an L.A. actor as opposed to a small-town theater actor—which is a prototype I like very much. I was afraid to have an agent, and I thought the whole thing seemed daunting and maybe even shallow. That’s not really what I think anymore, but it took a second.
What changed your mind?
I think what changed my mind was having real experiences in that world, as opposed to standing on the outside and guessing what it might be like—actually getting involved and realizing that I take me and my values wherever I go. I meet people like me everywhere I go—and people who are different too, but not in a bad way. And there are parts of any large industry or job that maybe don’t make sense to you, but that doesn’t mean you have to forego the whole thing.
How did you land the Lopez gig?
I did Upright Citizens Brigade theater, which is an improv theater, and I performed there for two years. I audition pretty regularly for things that I get submitted to, just kind of randomly, just things where I don’t know anybody involved. But this one, a coach I had at UCB told the creators, John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky, who also created Silicon Valley—apparently they had been casting this role and had tough luck, so they asked him if he knew anybody, and he submitted me. And I auditioned three times. A first time, a callback, and then a test. … At the audition, you read the scenes. At the callback, you read them again, but there’s more people there. But the test is when they take three to five people—finalists, sort of—and they invite all the network people. So at this one, there were TV Land execs—like people-on-their-smart-phones—sitting in the room, and George Lopez was there for that one. But the crazy thing about the test is that before you even go, in between the callback and the test, you have to sign a contract for seven years. It dictates how much you’ll make for seven years if the show goes, and you can’t do other roles on other TV shows, except for little ones, and your dressing room has to be just as a big as everyone else’s dressing room, and your name is just as big of a font in the credits as everyone else’s. So, you have to sign all that before you even walk in the room, which is crazy. … This one happened so fast. It happened basically, like over the course of a week. I was supposed to be out of town, and I kept changing my flight, thinking, I’ll just go to this one audition, and then I’ll catch my flight. And then, I’ll just go to this callback and change the flight. Then, I’ll just do the test and change my flight. And then, I couldn’t go on the trip, but I got the part.