Thursday, November 8, 2007
Comedian Gabriel Iglesias is known primarily as the “Fluffy Man.” On his Hot and Fluffy DVD, Iglesias explains. “For the record, I’m not fat,” he says. “I’m fluffy. There are five levels of fatness. There’s big, healthy, husky, fluffy and ‘damn!’ ” The “damn” phase is “if you go to Disneyland, kids want to ride you.”
On the phone from Los Angeles, Iglesias guesses why people respond so favorably to his jokes about being fluffy. “Fluffy sounds way better than fat or obese,” he says. “Fluffy sounds cute. It’s a lot of sugarcoating. No pun intended.”
Iglesias always wears a Hawaiian shirt during his standup routines. “Wearing a Hawaiian shirt, you don’t ever come across as offensive,” he says. “Nobody sees you as a threat. You see someone in a Hawaiian shirt, and you are like ‘this guy is ready to party.’ ”
The Hawaiian shirt might be what allows Iglesias to get away with jokes about drunk driving and a riff about creating a racist gift basket for an African-American friend. In his drunk driving routine he advises that, if you already know that you are going to jail and have tinted windows, just hop into the passenger seat and say that the driver just disappeared.
Another bit finds Iglesias impersonating a reporter and President Bush at a press conference. The reporter asks Bush about his plan for Katrina. The comedian imagines Bush’s response. “We’re gonna find her, and we’re gonna bring Katrina to justice,” he says.
Iglesias maintains that making his live act funny is his first priority. “A lot of the comedians nowadays just do comedy as a stepping stone,” he says. “Take for example Dane Cook. The guy is huge. The main reason he got into it is to do what he is doing now: film and television work.”
That’s not to say that Iglesias has not ventured into other realms. In 2000, he was on the Nickelodeon show All That, where he won a Kids Choice Award. After a season, though, Iglesias moved on.
Though he has made appearances on sitcoms like the former My Wife and Kids, he doesn’t see having his own show in the future. “The only way I will do a sitcom is if it’s hurled at me, and I don’t have to work for it,” he says.
Probably Iglesias’ most widely known venture outside of his standup routine and Comedy Central specials was his appearance as a contestant on Last Comic Standing in which he was one of 10 finalists. “When I saw who I was competing against, I thought that it’s in the bag,” he says. “So, I really didn’t want to play by the rules.”
The comedian was sent home for violating the contest agreement by text messaging his girlfriend on his cell phone. “I made history for being the first Mexican deported off television,” he says.
Unfazed by the controversy, Iglesias is looking forward to unveiling new material at his Salinas performance including some bits about family life. After that, he hopes to debut his new act for a national audience with an as of yet unconfirmed special on HBO.
Gabriel Iglesias performs 7pm Friday, Nov. 9, at the Fox Theater, 239 S. Main St., Salinas. $27-$33. 888-825-5484.