By Jill Diver
He’s not fat; he’s “fluffy.” And he likes chocolate cake.
If that doesn’t ring a bell, you might know Gabriel Iglesias as the stand-up comedian who wears loud Hawaiian shirts and can be seen on “Comedy Central.”
“I’m just a really funny reporter who can’t write things down,” Iglesias, 33, said in a phone interview. “I got started about 12 years ago. It was something I always wanted to do. I performed in bars and every place you never want to go.”
Things are looking up for this comedian, however. He will be performing at the Wilbur Theatre, 246 Tremont St., Boston, on Thursday, March 25.
On his DVD “I’m Not Fat … I’m Fluffy: Live from El Paso,” he says that he finally became Dad when he started dating his girlfriend and “he thinks it’s pretty cool, that he gets to have a prefabricated family.”
On stage he talks about “being a Dad, getting a chance to go over to the Middle East, meeting the King of Jordan.”
Above all, Iglesias tells stories – funny stories. Part of his routine is describing the five stages of “fluffy”: “big,” “healthy,” “husky,” “fluffy,” and “DAMN!”
“You have to address the obvious,” he said. “Once I address it, I can have a fun with it. I understand it. I make light of it.”
He says he doesn’t write things down, but rather on stage is spontaneous.
“I can’t just write a joke and go up there,” he said. “I tell people I can’t write jokes.”
Fame has not come easily.
“My first two years I was struggling ugly and sleeping on my friends’ couches,” he said. “I was evicted from my apartment, the repo man was looking for my car. But luckily I had friends’ houses where I could stay. The first couple years were really rough, because I quit my job.”
He said he is happy to receive unconditional love from people in his life.
“I try not to get too big-headed, but I have a girlfriend and a kid who pretty much don’t give a damn what I do, they love me for me,” Iglesias said. “I like putting my personal life out there. That way at the end of the night, people can say they actually know something about me. I’m not a character, when the lights go off, I don’t walk out of the venue and become a different person.”
A stand-up comedian from Long Beach, he says people might be surprised to know his fan base is largely kids aged 10 to 14.
“What’s funny is that they are the ones, for the most part, who can’t come out to the show,” Iglesias said. “I keep my shows clean and I try to make the shows real friendly so everyone can have a good time. … I tell people I’m a 12-year-old comic, but I have classics.”
Iglesias said he still gets surprised at people who come out to see back-to-back shows.
“Fans say they can’t get enough of it,” he said. “I have the greatest fans ever because they are loyal and they are not crazy. I hear this about a hundred times a night: ‘Our kids are so upset they can’t come out tonight, they are the ones that turned us on to you.'”
FUNNY GUY Gabriel Iglesias
Born: San Diego, Calif.
Lives: Long Beach, Calif.
Favorite books: Anything wrestling related.
Favorite music: “Metallica’s Greatest Hits.”
Video games: “Guitar Hero” and “Beatles Rock Band.”
On the Web: www.fluffyguy.com.
IF YOU GO
What: Comedian Gabriel Iglesias.
When: Thursday, March 25, 7 and 9:45 p.m.
Where: Wilbur Theatre, 246 Tremont St., Boston.
How: Tickets $55 and $25. Call 1-800-745-3000 or visit www.thewilburtheatre.com.
When: Friday, May 21, 8 p.m.
Where: Mohegan Sun Casino, 1 Mohegan Sun Boulevard, Uncasville, Conn.
How: Tickets $35. Call 1-800-745-3000 or visit www.mohegansun.com.
When: Thursday, Aug. 12, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom, 169 Ocean Boulevard, Hampton Beach, NH
How: Tickets $49, $39, $29. Call 603-929-4100 or visit www.casinoballroom.com.
This story ran in the Eagle-Tribune March 18, 2010