Comedian Gabriel Iglesias uses plenty of real-life mishaps to shape his routine. Even circumstances surrounding our interview provide him with some new material. He's 40 minutes late calling me, but apologizes by explaining that he was at the Apple Store, replacing his iPhone, which met its death courtesy of a Diet Pepsi.
"Funny things happen to me, and I try to find ways to twist them around and make them entertaining to people," he says. "Like, trust me, last night when I drowned my phone, that wasn't funny to me. But tonight, I'll tell a story that will make people laugh." He pauses before adding, "That's an expensive joke, though."
Using everyday events as fodder is nothing new for the 32-year-old. During his first adult attempt at stand-up comedy, he got on stage and vented about what was then a painful breakup.
"People started laughing," he says, "so it basically turned into therapy."
Iglesias decided to use comedy as an outlet for talking out other personal issues. He has a long-standing joke about the six levels of fatness he's not fat, he's Fluffy and is comfortable talking about his weight.
"You gotta point out the first thing that people notice about you," he says. "I don't harp on it. ... I address it and make a couple of remarks, but it's not the entire show. If I was to lose 200 pounds, I'd still be funny."
Indeed, Iglesias should always have his realistic sound effects and his over-the top impressions, both of which contribute to his comedic story-telling. His impersonations of police officers, in particular, earned him some high-profile invitations over the holiday season. Iglesias performed at five different police officers' Christmas parties, including events for the California Highway Patrol and the Los Angeles Police Department. But good-natured cop-bashing is about as controversial as Iglesias gets.
"You start talking about politics or religion and you're gonna piss somebody off," he says. "The show's friendly. I don't want nobody leaving thinking I was preaching to them or giving too much opinion."
In 2006, Iglesias was a contestant on the popular NBC reality show Last Comic Standing, but was disqualified after a producer caught him using a Blackberry to text his girlfriend, a violation of his contract with the network. If nothing else, Iglesias gained some new material: The first 10 minutes on his upcoming double-disc release, We Love Fluffy, are grumblings about the show, he says. Iglesias is also set to record his second televised special, Too Hot, Too Fluffy, in April. (Yes, he's capitalizing on the whole Fluffy thing.)
"I just want to make people laugh," he says. "My show is a feel-good show. You don't walk out of there all depressed."
Depressed? After watching a comic nicknamed Fluffy? Wasn't my first concern ...