It's been a long and well earned road to stardom for comedian Gabriel Iglesias. His name might not ring a bell initially but when someone mentions "Fluffy" people immediately spring to life and say things like "I love him," and "he's so funny." The comedian wears his shoes thin with seventeen years of touring and extensive travel all over the world. Initially known as a hispanic-esque comedian he quickly eclipsed that tag by appealing to all age groups and ethnicities through his unique ability to tell every day life stories, that people from all walks of life, can appreciate and laugh about. His very first theatrical concert movie is coming out July 25th simply titled "The Fluffy Movie." I caught up with the extremely busy comedian at The Four Season's Hotel in Houston.
Allie Hanley: It’s not every day that a comedian can pull the kind of following that warrants a full theatrical release of a concert film. Typically comedians are lucky if they score an hour long show on Comedy Central of even a show sponsored by HBO. What is it about you and your show that allowed you to take it to the big screen?
Gabriel Iglesias: The biggest reason for this opportunity is because of Kevin Hart. He’s had a lot of success with his last two comedy concerts films that grossed millions and they only cost a couple million to make. He also has a good deal of followers on social media. The film producers got together and asked themselves who else is out there that is popular and has a strong following on social media? So they started looking around and they found that my numbers on social networks were really ranked high; my Youtube views are through the roof. So it’s a bit of a calculated bet. Kevin Hart was able to do this <so when they asked> would I be interested? Before they could even finish I was like already all over it. I already have a built in audience, a lot of people are going to come out. There are lots of fans that I have been building over the past 16 - 17 years. So I think that’s a good reason to watch it in theaters, and the fact that I already have a built-in audience.
Allie: In your new film, “The Fluffy Movie“ it shows you traveling all over the world. You have massive appeal amongst many cultures. What’s your life like now that you are recognized across the globe?
Gabriel: It’s been crazy like that for probably the past three years. We are always on the road, we are here, here, here <gesturing to different points in the air>, we’ve been all over the country, we’ve been to Canada, all over Europe, are next place is probably South Africa as we are working on that right now as well as Australia. To go places and have people recognize me when I have never been there is amazing. I love it, I love it. I love the attention. I love going places and people say "wow you are here," so there is an immediate connection.
Allie: And what about your at-home lifestyle?
Gabriel: Whenever I am home it’s cool. I got a really nice big house that I visit. I don’t really stay there much, I visit. I got a girl that takes care of it, and I see her every now and then <giggling> (meaning his girlfriend). No, I’m on the road 46 weeks out of the year!
Allie: You appeal translates to all cultures even though you have a Latin flair to your show.
Gabriel: Well my show is in English so it automatically connects to everyone. I’m not out there doing jokes about donkey’s or eating bologna and cheese sandwiches in the barrio. I’m out there telling stories that everyone can relate too. I mean everyone can relate to family issues. Everyone can relate to having kids messing with them, or being in a weird relationship. Everyone can relate to being a fish out of water, or being somewhere for the first time and you are nervous about it. When you are telling stories about yourself and they are real, people can connect with them. So when I am up on stage talking about my health issues, I’m saying man, I am a big dude, I need to lose weight, I got diabetes, and I got to freaking control that, and it’s hard. When you show the people that you are vulnerable, or as messed up as they are, they connect to you. That message crosses all countries, borders, whatever you want to call it. So the only Latin thing me at that point is my name and my skin color.
I use to make a really big deal to throw Spanglish into the show, and say stuff like Órale. Now I can actually just tell stuff about me. I don’t have to sugar coat it by putting all this Latino flavor on it.
I manage to relate very well, and I avoid certain topics that rub people the wrong way.
Because it’s not always what you say, it’s what you don’t.
So I don’t talk about politics, I don’t talk about religion, and I don’t talk about sports; And by leaving those three out you don’t offend anybody. Plus at my show I don’t go crazy.
For example, this concert comedy film is the first one to ever not be Rated R. That’s one thing I wanted to do different than everyone else, you can bring your kids to it.
It’s not “Frozen,” but there’s enough edge where it’s funny for the adults and it’s not too weak where they are not going to enjoy it either.
Allie: So many comics go to that place where they are making fun of people…
Allie: Exactly. You seem to be going along the route of old school, meaning you don’t overly cus, you don’t get sexually explicit, etc. Who did you look up to when you were first getting started.
Gabriel: You know it’s funny that I work as clean as I do because I was very much influenced by Eddie Murphy. Not so much by all the cussing and stuff but by all the characters. The fact that he would go up on stage and do impressions, do sounds effects, -I really liked that and that’s what caught my attention. So that’s what I started doing. Now when I first became a comic I was very dirty, but I think that was because I was full of nerves.
Ah man, I’m gonna get really nervous… so I can going to start dropping F-Bombs to just get through the set.
Someone pulled me aside and said, “You know what? You are really funny. You are likeable, and you don’t have to go down that road.” That was the best piece of advice I ever got.
Also he said, that if you work clean, then you don’t have to edit later. So if you get an offer to work on TV you won’t have to edit yourself… because you are going to get opportunities to work on TV. So if you are already use to working clean, you won’t have to edit yourself. You will just go up and do your thing.”
Look for Gabriel to be performing in a new animated film from Guillermo del Toro coming out in October called “Book of Life.” Another film is “El Americano,” which is animated. He will also be touring soon in Australia in September then he will start filming “Magic Mike: XXL" connect with Gabriel Iglesias all you have to do is Google “Fluffy” and all of his social media pops up.
Comedy, Special Interest
Directed By: Manny Rodriguez
In Theaters: Jul 25, 2014 Wide
Open Road Films - Official Site