Song & Stage

Gabriel Iglesias Unites Through Laughter May 31 at WHBPAC

Comedian Gabriel Iglesias may be better known as “Fluffy,” as in, “I’m not fat, I’m fluffy!”

Outfitted in a Hawaiian shirt, he makes his weight fodder for many of his jokes, though his animated stand-up act ranges from personal stories to funny character voices and sound effects.

Iglesias’ upcoming May 31 performance in Westhampton Beach is part of his Unity Through Laughter Tour, which he says is about overcoming differences with humor.

“I’m telling stories about my family, hanging out with friends, traveling—fish out of water situations,” he says.

However, he keeps the language and the humor friendly: “The only ‘F-word’ in my show is fluffy.”

This tour is in promotion of his upcoming film, The Fluffy Movie, a comedy concert film, coming to theaters July 11. Unlike the majority of standup films that are rated R, Iglesias says he aims to make the film accessible to all ages.

“We’re trying to make it so the whole family will come out,” he says, explaining that he finds it hard to find something both he and his kid can relate to. He wants to make that possible for others. “As a parent myself,” he asks, “how do you connect to them [over something] that doesn’t involve YouTube or video games?”

While his own live performance is also clean, he cannot say the same for his opening acts on the road. “They might be a little colorful.” Parents bringing their kids might want to arrive 15 minutes late, he advises with a laugh.

Though he now sells out theaters world-wide, Iglesias comes from humble beginnings. He was born the youngest of six children and raised by a single mother in Section 8 housing in Long Beach, California.

He credits his tough childhood for helping him develop a strong sense of humor to face obstacles. He always knew he wanted to be on stage and began performing standup in 1997. For the 2000 television season, he joined the cast of the Nickelodeon sketch comedy show All That, and that same year he appeared on Comedy Central’s Premium Blend, which showcased up-and-coming comics. He was 21 years old when he landed the spot on All That, which made him the oldest actor in the cast. He worked with Nick Cannon and Amanda Bynes “before Nick was with Mariah [Carey] and everyone knew that Amanda was crazy.”

“It was my first experience win acting and sketch,” he says. The days were grueling, 13 or 14 hours long. And as soon as he had all his lines memorized, the writers would change everything.

“Acting is OK but it wasn’t my first choice,” Iglesias says. Stand-up is what he truly loves.

Comedy Central loves his stand-up too. The network gave him the 2003 season premiere episode of Comedy Central Presents.

“The way that Comedy Central works is that they have their showcase shows,” he explains, such as Premium Blend, which includes three or four acts each episode. “They try to find what comics from those three can do 22 minutes,” for a half-hour Presents episode. The network gives the most outstanding of those comics an hour-long special.

“It’s like school,” Iglesias says. “You’ve got elementary, middle, then high school.”

After his first two hour-long specials, he had an unprecedented two-night special last year, titled Aloha Fluffy, and now he hosts and serves as executive producer for Stand Up Revolution on Comedy Central, which returns in July for a third season. Now he is long past graduation; “I’m teaching the class,” he says.

He has also gotten back into acting here and there, like voice acting in Planes and playing a DJ/drug dealer in Magic Mike—the movie in which Channing Tatum and Matthew McConaughey are strippers. “These guys are just on fire right now,” Iglesias says. ”Everything they touch is gold.” Tatum personally asked Iglesias to be in the first film, and soon he will be in the sequel Magic Mike XXL, which begins filming in September.

Iglesias notes that all of the material on this tour is new, though at the end of the show he will take requests for fan-favorite material. Those who aren’t familiar with his work don’t have to take a chance, he says. They can check his videos out online before they get tickets, he advises. “Just Google the
word ’Fluffy.’”

Gabriel Iglesias performs Saturday, May 31, at 8 p.m. at Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center, 76 Main St, Westhampton Beach. Tickets are $150, $130 or $110. Call 631-288-1500 or visit whbpac.org.

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