Exclusive Interview: Gabriel Iglesias (@fluffyguy) Talks Weight Loss, Getting Nude, and ‘Stand-up Revolution.’



Gabriel Iglesias is one of the most successful, yet humbling, comedians working today. He also is one of the most generous individuals I’ve ever met. The comedian, who has been known as Fluffy for much of his career, has since dropped over 100 pounds. He recently called in from a remote 4-star hotel to talk about his weight loss, getting nude in the “Magic Mike” sequel, and the final season of his Comedy Central show, “Stand-up Revolution,” which premieres, Friday, October 3rd.

You've recently lost a lot a weight. The last number I saw was 100 pounds. What is the exact amount of weight?

About 105. It fluctuates (laughs) five to ten pounds daily.

Do you still find it difficult staying on the diet and workout regimens, even after being so successful in losing weight?

Oh, absolutely. I fall off the wagon every single week. Just don’t have too many bad days in a row. If you do, you counter by working out or not eating as bad the following week.

For the longest time, you've had the five Levels of Fatness, six if you included "Oh, Hell No!" Now that you've lost so much weight, is there a new barometer of weight? Are you still considered Fluffy?

I think now I’m actually Fluffy because I got to the point… I was getting close to right around the 440 mark. Yeah, that wasn’t Fluffy. I was rocking DAMN! for a while (laughs). I think now I’m finally just Fluffy.

This is the third time I've interviewed you and each time your career gets bigger and bigger. You've voiced cartoon characters, performed all over the world, and have had a successful movie with "Fluffy Movie." What is the next goal to reach?

My goal right now is to maintain. My goal is to keep everything I’ve got. That’s it. I feel like I’ve got everything I’ve strived for. I don’t want to be that guy that gets there and then everything goes away. So, the goal is to keep it.

The new season of "Stand-up Revolution" is coming out on Comedy Central. How will this season differ from the past two?

This is the final season. That was a call that I made, not the network, so I think I had a little bit more fun with it. What’re they gonna do? It’s my last one (laughs).

What was the reason for ending it?

Well, I like three. I put a lot of comics on TV. I put a lot of myself up there as well. I just felt like three was good. We had a lot of extra fun on this one just for that reason and we came in over budget as well. The network was not too happy about that but it was a fun show.


How do you come up with the comedians who will be on the show, especially with this being the last season?

A lot of comics I’ve used on the show are comics that I’ve known over the years. Also, ones that don’t get the opportunity to be on TV. Other comics who have been on the show, I always say, ‘Hey, if you have someone who might be good on the show let me know, we’ll look at them,’ and so we’ve taken a lot of referrals, which is cool.

I read that you always take photos and sign autographs for fans. How challenging is it giving up so much time to fans the more and more successful you become?

You know what, it’s very, very challenging and now it’s like, I don’t necessarily put it out there anymore because it can turn into an event. There would be times I would do a show, and my show was two hours long, my performance was two hours long, and then my meet and greet was four to six hours. It took its toll. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m out there making a lot of fans by doing that but it definitely affected my knees, and my hips (laughs).

Yeah, I’ll take the pictures but by the time you get to those last few people, the expression on my face whenever I see it online, I’m like, ‘you know, I might want to just cut that meet and greet a little bit shorter so I’m at least happy in the photo and I’m not looking like I was beat up.’ But if someone comes up to me on the street, or at the mall, I’m happy to take pictures.

My cousin is getting married soon. She wanted me to ask if you'd come to her wedding. What's the weirdest request you've received from a fan, either for a photo, autograph, or appearing somewhere?

I get a lot of, ‘will you go here?’ or ‘will you go there?’ I get a lot of wedding invitations, I get people who try to get me to go to hospitals, I get random requests like that, all the time. Or they’ll take me directly from the show – somewhere. I’ve been kidnapped before and wound up at people’s houses and the next thing I know I’m in the backyard shooting rifles. I’m like, ‘How did we go from the club to here?’

I don't know if you remember this but I saw you in my hometown of Davenport, IA and a couple who came to your show gave you the top part of their wedding cake, a part in theory they should have eaten one year later. What's the weirdest present that you've ever received?

Someone sent me a turtle shell with my face painted on the turtle shell. It was actually done very well, it was an art piece, it was really, really legit. For me, it just freaked me out that it was a turtle shell. It was a really big turtle shell, the size of a hubcap. I’m like, ‘I’m an animal lover. I hope they didn’t kill the turtle just to do this.’

You're slated to return to the big screen in "Magic Mike 2." I read that during the filming of the first installment, in regard to acting with big name actors, you didn't want to piss anyone off, saying that it was very stressful for you. Have you since gotten comfortable now that your star status has risen as well?

Oh, yes, now they’re asking for my input (laughs). ‘What would you do here?’ ‘What would you do there?’ I’m like, ‘Ehhhhhh.’ Now it’s different. Now I’ve got credibility and I’ve got a fan base going so they’re definitely up for suggestions.

So, at this moment in time, right now, still no nudity?

Still no nudity, but I’m open. I told them I’m down, whatever they need.

So, when it's all said and done, what would be the one thing you're most proud of in your career?

The fact that I’ve helped out a lot of people along the way. I’ve stuck my neck out; I’ve tried to put out as many friends, and other funny people along the way. I’ve never wanted to be that guy who was all about himself. I try to spread it out. I’ve been very fortunate to be in this position and I wish that someone would’ve done that for me, to help me out.

That's all I had. Good luck with everything down the road!

Thank you. I got to try and remember that wedding cake now (laughs).



BYLINE:

Jason Tanamor is the Editor of Zoiks! Online. He also is the author of the novels, The Extraordinary Life of Shady Gray, Hello Lesbian!, Hello Fabulous!, and Anonymous. Visit him at www.tanamor.com. Email him at jason@zoiksonline.com.
READ MORE - Exclusive Interview: Gabriel Iglesias (@fluffyguy) Talks Weight Loss, Getting Nude, and ‘Stand-up Revolution.’

Exclusive Interview: Mitch Grassi of Pentatonix Talks ‘The Sing-Off,’ A Cappella, and Christmas Album.



Ever since Pentatonix won NBC’s “The Sing-Off” in 2011, the group has been a vocal sensation. The a cappella group just released the EP “PTX Vol. III,” which features a mix of global pop and indie hits with original songs. The EP shot to #1 on the iTunes Pop Chart upon release and is currently in the Top 5 on iTunes Main. I recently chatted with vocalist Mitch Grassi about the group’s success after “The Sing-Off.”

 Thank you, Mitch, for taking the time.

Of course! Thanks for having me.

Pentatonix has exploded onto the music scene. You, Kirstie, and Scott all grew up together. How hard was it to incorporate two unknowns into the group?

I'm not gonna say it was super easy from the beginning! We all five came from different backgrounds, personally, and musically, so starting off was a bit rocky in the way that we all had different ideas of how this group was going to work, but not a clear understanding of how to execute them.

What influenced you to become an a cappella band?

We originally became an a cappella group to try out for NBC's ‘The Sing-Off.’ After winning the show, we decided that we really liked what our group had become, and we continued to do the all-vocal thing. I really think it worked in our favor - nobody else in the music industry was doing what we were doing. The thing is, with a cappella, it's really limitless. You can practically go for whatever sound you want and I think that notion was really exciting to us.

Pentatonix does a lot of cover songs. How do you decide which songs to do?

Whatever inspires us. If a band member likes a particular song, they'll bring it to the group for consideration and see if we can actually make it work. We also like doing Top 40 stuff, too, and completely re-working it so radio lovers can listen to their favorites in a whole new way.

You mentioned NBC's "The Sing-Off." How has winning this competition opened up doors to you both professionally and personally?

I think it was the best platform for us to get recognition. I'm super thankful that we got the opportunity to do that show for exposure's sake, if nothing else. But being on the show wasn't just about exposure. The whole process actually shaped who Pentatonix is today. We created our sound before the eyes of the viewers, which was really exciting for both parties. And it was also a great way to create our stage presence. For me, being a part of ‘The Sing-Off’ was sort of a wake-up call because I never really understood how much work it actually took to create your own music. It was tedious, frustrating, and exhausting, but always worth it.

Do you think that if Pentatonix didn't do so well on "The Sing-Off" that the band would be this successful?

It's hard to say. I think our victory on the show fueled us to actually pursue this thing as an actual career. That may not have been the case had we lost. But I don't wanna think about that!


(Photo by Esther Kaplan)

Were there any songs that the band tried covering that just didn't come out right? If so, which ones were more difficult to cover?

Totally. For some reason, we really struggled with Taylor Swift's songs. We were a fan of ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’ and ‘We Are Never Getting Back Together’ but they just wouldn't work in our style no matter how hard we pushed. Maybe one day we can cover a Taylor song successfully!

The band has just released "PTX, Vol. III," which contains four covers as well as three original tracks ("On My Way Home", "See Through" and "Standing By"). Describe your writing process in regard to writing original material.

Actually, this particular album is different from the others because we received mostly-finished songs from other artists via our label. I think, in a way, it was almost easier. It was sort of like arranging another cover song because we didn't have to start from scratch. Usually, when we're writing original songs, we'll do it alone or in pairs, and write the outline of the song with half-baked lyrics, then bring the concept song to the group and see if they approve it or want to work on it. We've tried writing a song altogether, but it wasn't effective. I think we all have different methods of writing and they just didn't mesh.

How does the creative process come into play in regard to what each person contributes to the band?

We all have different roles. I would say I'm more of the ‘nuance’ guy. In other words, I like to find little musical moments to throw into the arrangements to make them pop. Scott is good at that, too. He's also very conceptual and a ‘big-picture’ thinker. Kevin is the same way. Avi focuses on the arc and emotion of the song. Kirstie is usually the logical one, pointing out fallacies and inconsistencies.

Pentatonix has a Christmas album coming out. This is the band's second holiday album. What made you decide to put out another holiday album?

A cappella and Christmas music just go hand-in-hand! We wanted to make a heartwarming holiday record, but we wanted it to be different than our last one. This one is less ‘a cappella Christmas record’ and more of a fleshed out pop record, in my opinion. It's definitely full of surprises, too.

Who were your main influences growing up?

Imogen Heap was and still continues to be my main influence, in terms of vocal AND writing style. I've always admired her self-sufficient creative process - she writes and produces her own music. I love that. I love the way she thinks about certain subjects, too. It's very poetic.

Thank you again for taking time out. Is there anything you wanted to add?

Thank you! Shout out to our fans and the people who continue to buy our music and support us. We love you!

Pentatonix consists of lead vocalists Scott Hoying, Kirstie Maldonado,  and Mitch Grassi, vocal bass Avi Kaplan and beat boxer Kevin “K.O.” Olusola.



BYLINE:

Jason Tanamor is the Editor of Zoiks! Online. He also is the author of the novels, The Extraordinary Life of Shady Gray, Hello Lesbian!, Hello Fabulous!, and Anonymous. Visit him at www.tanamor.com. Email him at jason@zoiksonline.com.
READ MORE - Exclusive Interview: Mitch Grassi of Pentatonix Talks ‘The Sing-Off,’ A Cappella, and Christmas Album.

MUSIC NEWS: Scare Don’t Fear Launch PledgeMusic Campaign

Hear unreleased material from Scare Don't Fear's debut album From The Ground Up. Available through their newly launched PledgeMusic campaign. Join now for exclusive access to downloads, updates, exclusive music, memorabilia, fan experiences and more at: http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/scaredontfear.
 
"It has been one hell of a year for us but we're so excited for our future! We have started this PledgeMusic campaign to help us stay on the road this Fall and Winter so we can keep spreading the word about our band. We also have a new music video dropping really soon that we're stoked to share with everyone. Catch us on the Little Liar tour this October with Eyes Set To Kill and look out for more tours being announced soon!" Add Scare Don't Fear.
 
In addition to unveiling the deluxe edition of From The Ground Up, Scare Don't Fear is gearing up to release a brand new video and embark on the 'Little Liar Tour' with Eyes Set To Kill. Tour kicks October 4th.
 
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Be sure to pick up ANONYMOUS, the novel that Publishers Weekly hailed as a "well-crafted piece of experimental, voyeuristic fiction..." and "a winning jumble of the gritty, the raw, and the grotesque" at http://www.tanamor.com/p/anonymous.html.
READ MORE - MUSIC NEWS: Scare Don’t Fear Launch PledgeMusic Campaign