Comedic superstar Gabriel Iglesias says that although Conan is getting screwed in his deal with NBC, the fans are the ones coming out as winners. With a hit comedy special airing on Comedy Central and available on DVD, the comedian’s success is only getting bigger. Never one to shy away from the spotlight, it’s no wonder Iglesias has a close relationship with his fans.
Iglesias recently called in to talk about his life, his weight, and the fact that NBC has made TV more interesting to watch.
Q – How did you get involved in stand-up and when did you start?
A – I’ve been doing stand-up since April 1997. This will be my 13th year. I always wanted to be a comedian, ever since I was ten. I saw Eddie Murphy’s “Raw” and that was it.
Q – In your act, you talk about your comedy idol Paul Rodriguez. When you were developing your own material, did you find yourself trying to write jokes like Paul’s?
A – Paul was an influence early on. In the show now, it’s very, very, very different. The whole show is about me; personal issues and things going on. If I talk about Paul, I’ll talk about hanging out with Paul and I’ll do impressions of him. But the show is for the most part, I tell people, 80% truth and 20% magic that I have to put on.
Q – You’re obviously not fat, but fluffy. You don’t hide the fact that you’re heavy set. With the country so health conscious, have you ever been the target of health groups?
A – Every now and then I’ll get someone that says, ‘How can you promote unhealthiness or obesity?’ No, I’m just trying to be positive. I’m trying to make a rough situation seem OK. I’m a very secure person and it’s not like I’m going out there bashing anyone and saying, ‘This is how you should live.’
Q - Your new special is called, “I’m not fat, I’m fluffy.” A lot of it revolves around your relationship with your girlfriend’s son Frankie. Do you find yourself ever wanting to change your life, health wise or anything for him?
A – Absolutely. I was just doing an interview a few minutes ago and I was making it very clear that once the special is over there are a few things I have to address. I have to have knee surgery. I have a situation with my knees that I have to really take care of. It’s really challenging when I’m on the road; snacks are fingertips away.
Q – Has Frankie enjoyed the attention of being talked about on a regular basis?
A – Uh… I’m definitely going to have to say yeah on that one. The fact that people bring snacks for him, it doesn’t hurt.
Q – Talking about your life in your act, do you find people trying to give you advice about how to handle situations at home?
A – I’ll have people that are diabetic come up to me and try to recommend certain foods, which is pretty cool. I had a personal trainer who wanted to change my life and I was like, ‘I don’t have time to commit to you.’
Q – You have a close relationship with your fans. With you becoming more known in the industry, how do you continually make time for the fans when your schedule becomes increasingly busier?
A – I always made it a point that I have to. I have to make sure that I don’t forget. Unless there is a time when I have multiple shows, that is the only time I can’t meet, socialize or hang out or take pictures.
Q – Have there ever been any crazy fans?
A – Oh absolutely. I have fans and I have hardcore fans. I have fans that will follow me state to state, show to show.
Q – Any of them been stalkerish?
A – Some of the stuff is pretty crazy but for the most part everyone is pretty sane. I have some really hardcores. I had two people this weekend that got tattoos of my signature. They said, ‘Sign right here and we’ll do it.’ I said, For real? If you really do it, send me the pictures. I gave them my email and they both did it.
Q – Where did they get the tattoos?
A – On their arms.
Q – When did you realize that you first made it in stand-up? Was there a show, or an event, etc.?
A – I never really thought of it as, ‘Oh, I’ve arrived.’ I’m definitely in the mix, you know, I’m making some noise. I just think that once you say you’ve made it, that’s as far as you’re going to get.
Q – I’ve interviewed a lot of comedians. Some do a combination of clubs and theaters. Bill Engvall told me he liked the clubs better because of the intimacy with the audience. What’s your opinion about each type of venue?
A – I never even wanted to do theaters. I was perfectly happy with doing clubs. But it gets to that point where you keep adding a show, then another show and then another show… there was one time where I had 18 shows, in a two week span. You just can’t add anymore. You have to graduate, you have to move up to the next level. I enjoy doing the clubs, I come up with more material in clubs. In the theaters, people pay a higher ticket price, people have higher expectations. You can’t go out there and pussy foot; you have to go out there and deliver. Right now it’s kind of challenging to me because I only have 15 to 20 minutes of new material and then I have to rely on the old stuff.
Q – What’s the one thing you want to do before you call it quits?
A – Definitely lose some weight (laughs). Pretty much, I just want to continue to put out specials. This last one I produced myself. Everything fell on me, I was the one who put it together. So nobody owns it. I own my own special. I’d also like to produce other comedians.
Q – Before I let you go, what do you think about what’s going on with the crap between Conan and Leno?
A – I think it’s great for the fans right now. It’s making TV a lot more interesting. People want to tune in every single night to hear the monologues. The fans are getting the better jokes; they’re tuning in.
Q – Do you have a preference, Conan or Jay?
A - I think Conan is getting screwed over on his deal. I know both the guys, I’ve done both versions of the show. I did five “Tonight Show’s” with Leno and December I did with Conan.
See the review of Gabriel Iglesias’s new special, “I’m not fat, I’m fluffy,” here:
“Gabriel Iglesias is not fat, he’s fluffy.” – Concert Review
Jason Tanamor is the Editor of Zoiks! Online. He is also the author of the novels, "Hello Lesbian!" and "Anonymous." Email Jason at firstname.lastname@example.org.