From Wednesday’s Life section of The Oklahoman.
Comedian keeps things light so audience leaves happy
Bouncing around the stage in his signature sneakers and Hawaiian shirt, stand-up comedian Gabriel Iglesias sets out to make his fans laugh in a jolly, upbeat way.
“The last thing I want to hear is any groaning or booing during the show,” he said in a recent phone interview his Long Beach, Calif., home. “I keep the show very positive and everybody leaves there happy. Nobody leaves my show pissed off. Nobody leaves the show going, ‘Oh, this guy was being preachy.’ … When you leave my show, you want to hug somebody and get something to eat.”
A late-night snack could be considered an appropriate nightcap after seeing the robust comedian known as “The Fluffy Guy.” Last month, Iglesias, 33, launched his first nationwide tour in support of his Comedy Central stand-up special “I’m Not Fat … I’m Fluffy.” The 50-city four-month tour includes his “long overdue” first performance in the Oklahoma City area Thursday at the Rose State Performing Arts Theatre.
“I’ve been meaning to go over there for quite some time, it’s just that no promoters would take a chance on me. But now that we’ve got Comedy Central and Live Nation working together, they’re taking me anywhere and everywhere,” said Iglesias, who recorded “I’m Not Fat … I’m Fluffy” in front of a sold-out audience in El Paso, Texas.
“Every show’s been packed. No complaints. … The audiences have been great. It’s been a rock concert every single night is the best way to describe it.”
Iglesias, who has been seen on TV’s “Last Comic Standing,” “My Wife and Kids” and “All That,” has experienced a surge in popularity the past few years. The special “I’m Not Fat … I’m Fluffy” debuted with 4 million viewers in November on Comedy Central, while the DVD rapidly reached No. 1 on Amazon.com.
The comic attributes the growth in his popularity to “keeping the show friendly and making it so that everybody can enjoy.” His routine typically mixes real-life storytelling, impersonations and sound effects, but he avoids cracking wise about politics, religion and sports.
“All the stories are true, but I just put a little magic at the end to make them funny,” he said. “I surround myself with enough people and do enough things to where I keep it interesting. … It’s a great thing ‘cause I don’t like to write.”
In his latest special, the chubby comic shares his expanded “six levels of fat,” an early-morning encounter with a tyrannical hotel clerk and an episode of drunk texting his girlfriend. The DVD is dedicated to her son, Frankie, whom he considers his stepson, and the funnyman talks about the boy with his audience for the first time in the new routine.
The new dad chats about taking Frankie to Disney World, dropping him off late to school and even realizing that the boy has discovered the late-night programming on Cinemax.
“My kid is not gonna complain. He’s got everything he’s ever wanted, and he gets more of it every week,” Iglesias said, adding other family and friends accept that his life provides the material for his shows.
“I don’t really drag anybody under a bus. Like I said, even though it’s in fun, it’s still for the most part positive. If anybody catches heat, it’s usually me. I’ll put my own stuff up onstage, and there’s no story that I could tell about anybody else that I wouldn’t tell about myself.”
When he started out in stand-up, Iglesias just performed characters and impressions. His routines were dirty until a friend suggested he was likeable enough to find wider success with clean comedy. At least 10 years ago, he became comfortable enough in his own skin to joke about his hefty size.
“I just took a chance one night and it worked. And I just kept adding onto it from there. The more I tried to make the shows about real things that happened, the easier it got,” he said.
“I don’t think I’m making the people laugh at me as much as helping them laugh with me. … It’s not just stories about me being a big guy, I tell a lot of personal stories up there that people can really relate to. And I don’t come across offensive, so nobody feels weird.”
When: 8 p.m. Thursday.
Where: Rose State Performing Arts Theatre, 6420 SE 15.
Information: 297-2264 or www.fluffyguy.com.