Iglesias turns odd-man-out feeling into comedy

Gabriel Iglesias has always felt like a fish out of water. This attitude has been the basis for his

Gabriel Iglesias has always felt like a fish out of water.

This attitude has been the basis for his stand-up comedy act, which focuses on stories from his family and personal life growing up in a Mexican-American household in Long Beach, Calif. His candid approach and family-friendly style has led “Fluffy” — as he’s known from his often-repeated stand-up line, “I’m not fat . . . I’m fluffy” — to major success in recent years.

He first began appearing on TV in 2000 with a brief stint on Nickelodeon’s sketch comedy show “All That,” but first broke nationally in 2006 as a contestant on “Last Comic Standing.” Since then, he has starred in two one-hour Comedy Central specials, most recently 2009’s “I’m Not Fat . . . I’m Fluffy,” and launched a successful show on that channel, “Gabriel Iglesias Presents Stand-Up Revolution” — which highlights up-and-coming comedians from around the world — last year.

In June, Iglesias starred alongside stars Channing Tatum and Matthew McConaughey in “Magic Mike,” his first major Hollywood appearance. On Dec. 15, he’ll film his third Comedy Central special, “Aloha Fluffy,” in Hawaii, and the second season of “Stand-Up Revolution” will begin airing in October.

Gabriel Iglesias

When: 8 p.m. Friday

Where: Palace Theatre, 19 Clinton Ave., Albany

How Much: $42

More Info: 465-3334, www.palacealbany.com

Fuel for humor

But even with all this success, he still feels like the odd man out most of the time. And this feeling still fuels his comedy.

“I’m telling stories from a perspective [the audience] can understand,” Iglesias said from Toronto, a stop on his “Stand-Up Revolution” tour, which heads to the Palace Theatre on Friday night.

“For example, I’ll tell the story about when I went to the Middle East. I couldn’t believe I was there, hanging out with a prince — what the hell am I doing still hanging out with a prince; my last encounter with royalty was at the Burger King drive-thru. So it’s a story of a unique situation, and I’m telling it from the perspective of a fish out of water. None of the stories are like, ‘Yeah, I’m running things’ — it’s all still, ‘Then this happened; then this happened.’ ”

Part of this stems from the fact that he has always worked on his own terms. Even though he landed a Hollywood movie this year, he doesn’t have much interest in doing another major film now. He executive produced “Stand-Up Revolution” and his last Comedy Central special, and will also be producing the upcoming special, which means he retains the rights.

“I’ve made it a point to create my own opportunities and not wait around for Hollywood to offer things,” he said. “I’m not trying to do the Hollywood thing — I do my own thing, and if Hollywood catches up, it’s nice. By eliminating the middle man right there, it brings me closer to the fans.”

Continual touring

Despite his TV projects, Iglesias’ focus remains on his live show — he’s toured almost non-stop for the past four years. This time out the show is loosely based on “Stand-Up Revolution” with four rotating openers from the show and an elaborate set from Comedy Central.

“It’s five comics on a tour bus, traveling all across the country, and there’s a semi that’s following us, a semi big rig truck,” Iglesias said. “So it’s basically a rock star lifestyle, which is pretty exciting considering we’re comedians and not rock stars. Every night we have a full production with a stage full of stuff, with video screens. I saw people comparing it to the WWE or [something on] the Food Network.”

The openers make up the show’s first act, with Iglesias performing after. He’s testing out the material destined for his new special on this tour, with favorite bits such as the Krispy Kreme story tacked on at the end.

New, old material

“When I see the crowd, I give them one brand-new hour, but they keep going, ‘We want to hear the old stuff,’ ” Iglesias said. “And I say, ‘I’m happy to do whatever you guys want me to do’ — a lot of people want to hear certain bits that they heard from the Internet or TV. But sometimes as a comic you don’t want to do the old jokes, so you’ve gotta find a way to compromise — all right, you put up with the new stuff and then I’ll give you the old stuff, and we can all be happy.”

The tour is part of a bigger push from Comedy Central behind the second season of “Stand-Up Revolution.”

“The first time out, it was, ‘Let’s see how the show goes and we’ll take it from there,’ ” Iglesias said. “And it was a hit on DVD; it had really, really great numbers. So now the network is really gonna push hard — they’re even talking about season three already.”

Fans can expect more comedians from around the world on the next season. Iglesias has rounded up comics from Haiti, South Africa, Canada, England and the Philippines for the next season — all friends of his that he’s met through performances in Los Angeles.

“Comedy’s a small circle — you run into people all the time, especially in L.A.,” he said.

Additionally, he will debut teasers for a new cartoon, “Hey, It’s Fluffy,” on the show’s second season. The cartoon is based, like much of his stand-up comedy, on Iglesias and his friends’ experiences — if he and his friends were all 12 years old.

Helping others

For Iglesias, the show represents something different in the comedy world — a comedian booking other comedians. He enjoys being able to help up-and-comers hopefully land their chance at fame.

“To have a show that’s produced by a comedian and booked by a comedian — that hasn’t been done since the days of Rodney Dangerfield’s HBO comedy specials,” he said. “And while I have an ego, I don’t have a problem checking it to help other people out. I don’t feel like anybody is taking anything away from me, and I love the fact that I’m helping people out.”

Categories: Entertainment, Life and Arts

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