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In Arts & Entertainment

Gabriel "Fluffy" Iglesias comes to Milwaukee for two shows at The Riverside.

Talking film, funny business and fluff with comedian Gabriel Iglesias

Gabriel Iglesias may be nicknamed "Fluffy," but the comedian is whole lot less fluffy than he used to be.

After a health scare a few years ago due to a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes, Iglesias began losing weight. Almost 100 shed pounds later, the comedian has clearly slimmed down considerably – though he still has a bit of the signature fluff – but his workload certainly hasn't. He's starred in multiple movies in recent years, ranging from kids' flicks ("Planes," "The Nut Job") to comedies ("A Haunted House 2") to a critically acclaimed male strip club drama ("Magic Mike," as if there are many to pick from). He even has his own film coming out this July, a comedian concert film titled "The Fluffy Movie."

He's still making the live rounds as well, including two shows this week – one Thursday and one Sunday – at The Riverside Theater. Before he hits the stage, we got a chance to talk to Iglesias about his comedy career on and off screen, losing weight and his trip to Milwaukee – which includes tossing out a first pitch at Miller Park. Who and what really got you into comedy?

Gabriel Iglesias: It was just something I loved. I saw "Eddie Murphy Raw" back in '87, and I said I want to do that.

OMC: Was he your first real inspiration for comedy?

GI: Oh yeah. It was him and then a little while later seeing Robin Williams.

OMC: At the beginning of your comedy career, you left a comfortable job at a cell phone company to pursue this full-time, which isn't exactly an easy place to make a living. I read that you got evicted and lost your car during the process.

GI: Yeah, it was a very secure job, and at the time, I didn't really have a lot of expenses. So, believe me, for my situation at the time, I was doing extremely well. Had a new car, all my rent was paid, I had money in the bank, I had a cell phone with unlimited use … it was good times. So to give that up to chase the dream was not easy.

OMC: Was there ever a moment where you thought why am I doing this?

GI: Yeah, there were a few times like that. But it was never enough to make me go back.

OMC: It obviously worked out pretty well now. You've starred in a bunch of movies, including "Magic Mike" from a couple years back. What was filming that like?

GI: You know, it was very intimidating, man, because you have nothing but big names around you. It was Channing (Tatum's) movie, working with him and then McConaughey, and then of course you have Steven Soderbergh there. It was super intimidating. You don't want to piss anybody off. I didn't ask too many questions; I just said, "Hey, where do you need me? Where do you want me? Am I doing this right? Okay, here we go." I did my best to stay out of everybody's way and that I didn't piss anybody off. And it's a good thing because now they're doing the sequel, and I got the phone call.

OMC: Nice! So you're going to be making an appearance in that one as well?

GI: Yes, we start filming in September.

OMC: Can you tell me anything about the story?

GI: I haven't even seen the script. All they told me is that they're taking the show on the road, so whatever that means.

OMC: I imagine there were some pretty good stories on set?

GI: Well, everybody was working out around the clock. They had a bunch of gym equipment there on the set. The best part for me was that everybody left craft services alone, so anything that I wanted was pretty much left untouched. I was the only one who didn't get naked in the movie, too, so I had my own perks.

OMC: You also have a concert film coming out this summer, "The Fluffy Movie." Tell me a little bit about that.

GI: Yeah, we shot a concert that I did in San Jose about a month ago in front of about 9,000 people. We did two shows, and we put it together with a little mini-film up front. We're going to test that film on Tuesday.

OMC: Are you a little nervous to be testing a movie like this?

GI: Very nervous. Anytime somebody's going to critique you like that. I know that 9,000 people loved it; now I have to be concerned about 25 people in a focus group, and I have to rely on those 25 people instead of the 9,000 to let me know how I'm going to do.

OMC: You lost a lot of weight, about 100 pounds. Were you nervous about that on some level, especially considering how much of your comedy was about your weight?

GI: No, not so much. I was more concerned about sticking around, you know. And believe me, I'm still a big dude. I'm not a small man by any means. But it was a no brainer. I was getting sick, and I got Type 2 diabetes that was starting to affect me. I had to do something to correct it.

OMC: Do you talk about that in your show or movie?

GI: Oh yeah. I address all of it. People are going to ask questions, and I'd rather just throw it out there than have people wondering what's going on. That's a nice piece of the film, me talking about losing weight.

OMC: What are some topics you're planning to hit on in your Milwaukee show?

GI: I'm not repeating anything from the film. All of the material from that has been pretty much shelved because it's already been done. I'm basically working on a whole new show now.

I'm telling stories about things that have happened because of jokes that I've told in the past. That's the big topic of the show; what happened because I said this joke, what happened because I said that joke. I'm calling it the repercussions.

OMC: Have you ever been to Milwaukee before?

GI: Many times. I'm actually set to throw out the first pitch at the Brewers game on Sunday, which is pretty cool.

OMC: Have you been practicing?

GI: Man (laughs) I just know how to throw a fit. Otherwise, me throwing a ball … I don't know. I hope I make it to home plate. (laughs) I'm not going to try to throw it like a real pitcher.

OMC: So you're not going to do the full wind-up or anything?

GI: No, no, no, no. I like my shoulder, and I like my back.


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