For 21 years, Gabriel Iglesias — the man they call “Fluffy” — has been making people laugh by marrying humorous storytelling, parodies and sound effects that bring his personal experiences to life.
He’s released six one-hour specials, is one of the few comedians ever to sell out Madison Square Garden and pops up regularly in movies and on TV.
On April 20, Iglesias will appear at the Stamford Palace Theatre as part of his new stand-up tour, One Size Fits All. Keith Loria spoke with him about his upcoming show.
Keith Loria: What can fans coming out to the Stamford Palace Theatre expect from you on the night?
Gabriel Iglesias: I’m getting ready to do a new show for Netflix so even if you’ve seen me before, this is something all new. I’m a family-friendly storyteller and world traveler.
KL: How long have you been doing standup?
GI: This is my 21st year doing this. In fact, I celebrated my 21st birthday as a comic on April 10. I was at a bar in Long Beach, Calif., and had always talked about wanting to do it, and there was a show that needed an emcee because the guy who was supposed to do it didn’t show up, so my friend was promoting it and basically threw me up on stage, and the rest is history.
KL: Wow, you know the exact date! What can you remember about that first night?
GI: I was scared, probably the scariest moment in my life, but I didn’t show it. And I got my first paid gig off of that because there was a guy who ran a comedy show at the same place in the audience and he offered me $20 to come back Wednesday night.
KL: What has kept you coming back to the stage all of these years?
GI: It’s thrilling. It’s an excess of life. It’s a living soap opera that you just can’t walk away from.
KL: You’ve transitioned to TV and film. Was it always the plan to make this step?
GI: It’s something that is programmed into you as a comedian. When I first started, all I wanted to do was get on stage and make people laugh. I enjoyed being funny and I just wanted a special. There was never a plan to do anything else. I think the main reason comedians want to do sitcoms is so people will see them and gain exposure and when they do go to perform live, they will have a bigger audience.
KLoria: You’ve never had that regular sitcom job, but you’ve grown your audience considerably over the years. How have you done that?
GI: I pulled it off by utilizing social media. YouTube, MySpace at one time, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Always encouraging people that like my show to post something about it. I do it because I enjoy it.
KL: You were recently on an episode of Modern Family, which was a big hit with people. What other TV projects have been keeping you busy?
GI: It was a constant promo and seemed to be on all the time. I’m a fan of all the actors on the show and it’s a funny show. Any chance I can be on a popular show, I love the idea of doing cameos. I was also recently on an episode of Narcos (playing a Dominican gangster), and I was very grateful.
KL: Aside from the new special, what else do you have on tap for 2018?
GI: I’m going to continue to tour and stay as relevant as possible and enjoy this career while I have it. I am also doing a lot more voice-over work and I love that because you go home in four hours.
KL: You’re known as a big wrestling fan and the Stamford Palace is close to the home of the WWE.
GI: Yes! I am one of the biggest wrestling fans of all-time and if anyone works for the WWE and comes to the show, I want them to let me know and I’ll give them a meet-and-greet and we can talk wrestling after the show.