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George Lopez for mayor?

By Katie McLaughlin, CNN
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George Lopez on Sarah Palin as President
  • George Lopez stars as the voice of Grouchy Smurf in the new movie "The Smurfs"
  • Lopez and his wife of 17 years recently divorced
  • "I was not equipped with a lot of the tools that a person would need to be a partner"

"Piers Morgan Tonight" airs weekdays on CNN at 9 p.m. ET and on CNN International at 0200 GMT (live simulcast), 1200 GMT, and 2000 GMT and HKT.

(CNN) -- George Lopez told CNN's Piers Morgan that he's not ruling out the idea of running for mayor of Los Angeles -- eight years from now.

The actor and comedian appeared on Tuesday's "Piers Morgan Tonight." He provides the voice for Grouchy Smurf in the new movie "The Smurfs."

"This is a great city, and it's my city," Lopez said. "I believe that there are certain things that could be taken care of that you don't need a strong political background in."

Lopez told Morgan he cares most about "bonding the city back."

"Architecture downtown is beautiful," Lopez said, "and people live here, but they don't have a pride in Los Angeles that they did years ago, when I was growing up."

Lopez's L.A. childhood didn't provide much fodder for his comedy career. The comedian never knew his father, and his mother was an epileptic illiterate who had the mental capacity of an 8-year-old.

"If I was a can of soup at the store," said Lopez, summing up his childhood, "I'd have a dent in me, and I'd be in that basket that they have at the end of the hall, the end of the aisle that says, 'These are 99 cents, everything in the can.' That's how I would have considered myself."

Lopez's grandmother very reluctantly took him in when he was about 10.

George Lopez remembers his grandmother

"Everything I tried to do for her was met with negativity," he said. The comedian never heard his grandmother or either parent say "I love you."

Lopez told Morgan a story about the only shred of encouragement he ever received as a child. A player for the Baltimore Orioles visited histhird-grade class.

"He said that if you stay in school and you stick to what you want to do, you can become anything," Lopez recalled.

The message stuck with him, Lopez said.

His divorce from his wife of 17 years, Ann, was recently finalized.

"Ann was great," he said. "And Ann came from a family that was very connected. Both her parents were doctors. I always used to say we're opposites, because both her parents were doctors and mine never went to the doctor.

"She brought a sense of family and of home. The holidays were important to her, very important, every holiday. And it's great for my daughter to grow up with that." The couple has a 15-year-old daughter.

Lopez, who recently turned 50, told Morgan, "I was fortunate enough to be married to her for 17 years. And as marriages go, it was fun. We used to look at each other and laugh, and we had nothing when we started. So it was a great period."

In 2005, his wife gave Lopez a kidney when the comedian was suffering from kidney disease, which is partly why the public was so shocked when the couple filed for divorce in 2010.

"I don't want to blame entertainment," Lopez said. "I don't want to blame creativity, but when you grow up a certain way, unfortunately, I was not equipped with a lot of the tools that a person would need to be a partner."

Morgan asked Lopez, who graciously welcomed Conan O'Brien to take his timeslot on TBS (sister network to CNN), about the time he described Jay Leno as the "biggest two-faced dude and a back-stabber."

"I do not have a personal relationship with Jay Leno," Lopez responded. "We are not friends, nor have we ever been friendly. I've heard some things said about me by him that I took exception to. There were things that he said that I was not appropriate to people of my own color."

Morgan wondered whether "The Tonight Show" is still the "Holy Grail" among late night talk show hosts, and Lopez said, "if you ask me personally -- I know you didn't ask me -- who I thought should've been the host of 'The Tonight Show,' I think when Johnny Carson, -- which I was fortunate enough to do that show with him in 1991 -- I thought the heir apparent would've been David Letterman."

Morgan asked whether Lopez still saw Letterman as the heir apparent.

"I do," Lopez said. "David Letterman is the best late-night talk show host right now, hands down, and has been since he first took the desk."

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