You’ve seen him on Comedy Central, decked in one of his signature Hawaiian shirts; you may have caught his various late night talk show appearances on “Conan,” “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” or “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” to name a few; or maybe you’ll recognize him from the blockbuster hit “Magic Mike.” Whether on film or television, it’s clear that Gabriel Iglesias is making a name for himself both as a stand-up comic and as an actor, and he will soon be gracing the stage of Arlington Theater this Saturday, Feb. 22.
Because of Iglesias’ reputation for storytelling and comedy, you may be surprised to know that as a child he was timid and soft spoken.
“I was super quiet and super shy as a kid,” said Iglesias. “My family was really shocked when I started getting into comedy.”
Iglesias began on Comedy Central in 1997 after appearing on a show called “Make Me Laugh,” in which three comedians had 60 seconds to make a contestant laugh. Since then he has put out three TV shows and three specials on Comedy Central.
“It’s been a long relationship,” said Iglesias in reference to his Comedy Central career–and it’s one that is still going strong. Season three of his hit series “Gabriel Iglesias Presents: Stand-Up Revolution” will air in spring of 2014 on Comedy Central.
While Iglesias has had a long stint in stand-up, his acting career has begun more recently. Along with his TV and film roles, Iglesias also lends his voice to animated movies such as the Disney animated film “Planes” and the recently released “The Nut Job.” Despite his arrival into acting, Iglesias asserts that his main interest has always been, and will always be, comedy.
“I will never stop doing stand-up–I love it,” said Iglesias. “Some other performers use comedy as a stepping stone into the film business, but I always wanted to be a comic; as long as it feels right, I’ll keep doing it.”
In stand-up Iglesias often goes by another name, a nickname given to him by his mother.
“Fluffy was a nickname given to me by my mom. She would say, ‘you’re not fat, you’re fluffy,’” recalled Iglesias. “It caught on and others started calling me Fluffy. At first I was very annoyed by it but I began to market the word.”
Despite the stage name, Iglesias insist that his stand-up isn’t an act but truly reflects who he is as a person. Often utilizing personal stories, parodies, characters, and sound effects, Iglesias is able to entertain by breathing life into his first-hand experiences.
“It is me on stage,” said Iglesias. “I often incorporate things that have happened to me, hanging out with my friends and just stories that are relatable.”
His distinctive and animated comedy style has made Iglesias popular among fans of all ages, and many are starting to take notice. In 2013 Iglesias was named on some of the entertainment industry’s most prestigious lists, including making Forbes Magazine’s “Celebrity 100: Ones to Watch” list and The Hollywood Reporter naming him as one of its “Top Five Grossing Standup Comedians.”
Iglesias is a testament to what hard work and perseverance can achieve. As a role model to other aspiring comedians, he shares some words of advice.
“Stay persistent. If you quit you obviously will never get there,” said Iglesias. “Always modify your approach; if it doesn’t work, keep pushing at it… Do whatever you have to do to achieve your goal.”
Don’t miss Iglesias, Feb. 22, at the Arlington Theater.