Gabriel Iglesias – The Fluffy Movie

July 25, 2014 by  
Filed under Chaléwood, Interviews

Although his nickname “Fluffy” has defined him for years, stand-up comedian Gabriel Iglesias isn’t worried about losing his professional identity now that he has shed 100 pounds in an effort to combat his Type 2 diabetes. He’s more interested in staying alive.

“I’m more concerned about me being around than keeping an image,” Iglesias, 38, told me during an interview to promote his new film “The Fluffy Movie,” which hits theaters July 25. “I still got a ways to go. People keep asking, ‘What do we call you if you keep losing weight?’ I tell them, ‘Don’t worry. I’m lifting weights. Call me Buffy.’”

Aside from having to buy smaller Hawaiian shirts, Iglesias hasn’t changed much and is still one of the most popular stand-up comedians on the planet. During our interview, Iglesias talked about how “The Fluffy Movie” is the most personal stage performance he’s ever done and why he thinks dropping his nickname (and more denim shorts sizes) is critical to his future.

I’m a little disappointed you’re not wearing one of your famous Hawaiian shirts today.

Man, you know what? Those things are itchy. On stage, I’d rather rock a shirt with Transformers or something Marvel. I’ll wear a Hawaiian shirt if I’m doing something for TV or a movie. I own over 700 of those things. Chingos Hawaiian shirts!

You’ve done stand-up specials for TV before. How is “The Fluffy Movie” going to be different than what we’ve seen on Comedy Central?

I think all the other specials (2007’s “Hot and Fluffy,” 2009’s “I’m Not Fat … I’m Fluffy” and 2013’s “Aloha Fluffy”) have led up to this movie. Every time I put out a special, I put more and more personal stuff into it. This movie is going to be the icing on the cake. I’m telling people the story of how my mom and dad met and how I came to be. The material is super personal. I’m talking about my issues with Type 2 diabetes and the reason I had to start losing weight. I’m talking about having to eventually drop the “Fluffy” nickname. It could get to a point where I’m no longer a big dude. I’m talking about how my father showed up after 30 years of being gone. There’s a lot of emotion in this thing.

Was it therapeutic for you to reveal all these things?

It was extremely therapeutic because everyone thinks comics are happy. We’re not. We’re jaded. People think if you have money, it’ll fix the problems, but it creates different ones. As a comedian, especially one that works as much as I do, there is a lot of sacrifice. People don’t see that I’m away from my family 46 weeks out of the year. I miss all the birthdays and anniversaries and holidays. But getting on that stage is electric.

Does a film allow you to get a little more animated with the way you deliver your jokes?

Well, there are usually restrictions for my live shows. It’s adults only. I wanted the movie to be something everyone could enjoy. I wanted it to be family-friendly. So, no, I don’t cuss or anything like that. The only F-word in this movie is “fluffy.”

You’ve embraced that nickname for so long, but now it’s time to let go.

Yeah, this is probably going to be the last time you hear the name “Fluffy” in a title. I branded it so much that people are going to call me that no matter what. It’s in everything I’m in. If you Google the word “fluffy,” I’m the first thing that pops up. It’s me, dogs and rabbits.

People always joke about whether an overweight comedian can still be funny after they lose weight. What do you think about the idea you might lose it if you get skinny?

You know, people were saying the same thing about Jonah Hill and look what he did after he lost weight. He was nominated for two Oscars and he just had this movie “22 Jump Street” come out where he’s the lead over Channing Tatum! Can a big guy get small and still be successful? Hell yeah!

You come off as such a nice guy on stage. When, if ever, are you an asshole?

When I drink. If I’m drinking I can either be the nicest guy ever or I’m the guy you should leave alone. That’s my cross to bear. Drinking can bring out a dude that has some issues.

You were in the film “Magic Mike” back in 2012. Since the sequel is called “Magic Mike XXL,” can we assume you’ll be taking the stage alongside Channing Tatum?

It sounds like I’m going to be, right? Yeah, they’re going to make me twerk. If I twerk, I’m going to sell it hard.

Strippers and comedians both perform on a stage, so it should be an easy transition for you.

Yeah, one has a mic and one has a pole. We both put our hands around it and make the room go crazy.

Planes

August 9, 2013 by  
Filed under Ashley, Reviews

Starring: Dane Cook, Stacey Keach, Brad Garrett
Directed by: Klay Hall (“Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure”)
Written by: Jeffrey M. Howard (“Tinker Bell”)

You can guess where Disney’s “Planes” is going and how it’ll get there, but because it flies just beyond the clouds – and avoids the rough turbulence – the ride has its moments. Parents are correct if they think they’ve seen this movie before. There’s a generic underdog storyline and an inspiring lead character. Fortunately for “Planes,” the film also comes with an important message every child can benefit from. For parents who are worried about what their kids are watching these days, “Planes” is about as safe as you can get for a PG-rated movie.

Initially created as a spin-off to Pixar’s “Cars” and set to be released as a straight-to-DVD film by Disneytoons (Tinkerbell movies), it wasn’t a big shocker when Disney decided to spare it from ending up in the $5 bin a year from now and capitalize on its market value (toys, video games, etc.) and guaranteed cash flow.

Cropdusting Dusty (Dane Cook) might have some big dreams to enter a round-the-world race, but his chances are pretty slim considering his speed and the fact he is constantly being told he can’t succeed (“Turbo” anyone?). With the support of his friends Dottie, the forklift “mechanic” (Teri Hatcher), Chug, “the fuel truck” (Brad Garret), and the guidance of his heroic war veteran/Navy Corsair coach Skipper (Stacy Keach), he tries out for a spot in the Global Plane Competition. Falling just short of the qualifying spot, Dusty is informed a couple of days later that because of illegal practices by the last qualifier he is now eligible to compete. Dismissed as a joke by all of his competition, Dusty focuses his energy on becoming a better competitor, gradually gaining him more fame and support than hot shot, all-time champ, Ripslinger (Roger Craig Smith). Along the way, he makes a few friends, including suave wannabe ladies’ airplane, El Chupacabra or “El Chu” (Carlos Alazraqui).

Filling the spot for the funny secondary characters every animated film is notorious for having nowadays, (Mub and Grub from “Epic,” the Minions from the “Despicable Me” franchise, and Belt the Sloth from “The Croods”), El Chupacabra steps up to the challenge with his thick Mexican accent, infamous cape and his love for the chicas. More specifically, El Chu is trying to win the heart of French-Canadian goody two-shoes plane, Rochelle (Julia Louis-Dreyfus). One of the best scenes of the film comes when Dusty helps El Chu out by setting him up to sing a Mexican-style serenade of “I’m Just a Love Machine.” As possibly the best serenade ever in an animated film, “Planes” gets props for the memorable musical interlude.

The 7-country competition course in “Planes” sanctions for some stunningly bright colored visuals and with its sporadic and swift POV shots, the 3D animation is enjoyable but not essential. Thanks to the identical looking “Cars” world portrayed on screen and the many characters from the 2006 and 2011 Pixar movies that came before, it’s possible you walk out of “Planes” thinking you just saw the last film of the “Cars” trilogy. Let’s hope Disney find a way to allow the inevitable sequel to stand on its own and not use sister studio Pixar as a crutch.

Gabriel Iglesias – Planes

August 9, 2013 by  
Filed under Chaléwood, Interviews

In Walt Disney Animated Studio’s new film “Planes,” stand-up comedian Gabriel Iglesias (AKA Fluffy) works double duty to give voice to the characters Ned and Zed, two disruptive airplanes that fly alongside the film’s main antagonist Ripslinger in hopes of helping him win a big aerial competition. During our interview, Iglesias, 37, talked about how lucky he was to land a role in the film after missing the first audition, and shared his 15-year-old son’s sentiments when he told him he was starring in a summer movie for Disney.

What’s up, Kiko?!

Hey, Gabriel! What’s going on, man?

Ah, nothing. Just sitting here waiting for my bagel.

Ah, nice. What do you put on it? Cream cheese?

That or butter. I’m weird.

How did you get pitched this film and why did you say yes?

It was a no-brainer. If Disney calls and you don’t go, you’re kind of dumb. (Laughs) Originally, I had read for the character Chupacabra, but I did not make myself available for the table read. I was out of town doing stand-up. When I missed the table read, someone else filled in (Carlos Alazraqui). But you don’t send in Mike Tyson to fill in for some regular fighter. [Carlos] is amazing with voices. So, he came in and they liked him better for that part. Luckily for me they had two other characters in the film (Ned and Zed), so they called me up for it. I did not miss that table read.

It’s pretty unique you got to give voice to both characters.

Yeah, two characters, one check.

How did you differentiate between the two characters’ voices?

Well, for one character, they let me use my regular voice, so I sound just like this. The other one sounds like a 60s hippy guy.

What did you think when you first saw what Ned and Zed looked like?

I was excited. I was like, “I want the toy!” The movie hasn’t even come out yet and I already went and got the toy. It’s pretty cool.

Are you going to try and get your hands on everything that features Ned and Zed in the toy aisles?

I’m going to go get all that stuff. I’m going to stockpile it at my house and give it away as Christmas presents.

Who’s most excited about you being in this movie? Do you have any kids in your life that flipped out when you told them you were going to be in “Planes?”

I have a 15 year old at home. When I showed him the characters I was playing he said, “That’s nice. Wanna play Call of Duty?” (Laughs) “Are the planes going to be shooting anything?” was his question. I was like, “No, they’re not going to be shooting anything!”

What experience as a stand-up comedian do you take into a gig like this – doing voice work for a major animated film?

Well, I basically walk in there and do what I do on stage. The cool part was they let me ad-lib a little bit. I would tag up some of the lines. I’d add a sound effect or change the tone a little. They let me have fun with it. So, yeah, doing voice over work was a walk in the park. On stage you only have one shot to do it, but in the studio if you don’t get it right, you can do it again and again. I was able to knock out the whole movie – both characters – in about four hours.

That’s not even a full day’s work, come on!

I know. I walked in, they made me an omelet and I got to work.

We’ve been seeing a lot of Latino characters in animated films this summer. Michael Peña and Luis Guzman voiced taco vendors in “Turbo” and Benjamin Bratt and Moises Arias had roles in “Despicable Me 2.” Do you think studios are starting to realize they have to hit that demographic?

I think that’s part of it. But I also think that guys like me – and this is going to sound crazy – can go either way with it. I’m a Latino, but I don’t necessarily have to go into that vein. But I do think people see there are a lot of dollars in the Latino market. We go to the movies a lot. It’s nice to see there is something there that connects. I think more and more studios are going to start doing that. Having the Chupacabra character (voiced by Alazraqui) in [“Planes”] adds so much to the movie.

We’re around the same age. We didn’t grow up with computer generated cartoons on TV and movie screens where the planes are flying at you in 3D. Do you like cartoons like this or are you more old-school?

I love it. Back in the day we didn’t have high-quality televisions like we do now. The best movies I had at the time were “The Fox and the Hound” and “101 Dalmatians.” I love that a “Cars”-type movie or a “Turbo”-type movie or a “Shrek”-type movie looks so lifelike. It adds so much to the movie. Don’t get me wrong, I still like cartoon animations, but I definitely think this is what people want to see right now.

What cartoons or TV shows did you grow up watching?

Let’s see, “Dukes of Hazzard,” “Knight Rider” “A-Team,” and “Three’s Company. Those were the shows I watched.

Big John Ritter fan, huh?

Oh, man, he was the best. He was funny and very physical with his comedy. He was really good at slapstick and falling.

I think he’s one of the very few recent comedians that did slapstick right. He wasn’t just some fat dude falling over something for a cheap laugh.

I could not pull that off successfully. Well, maybe I could do it once. (Laughs)

I know your first love is still stand-up comedy, but have you started to keep your options open when film opportunities come up?

If it’s something like “Planes,” definitely. But for the most part, I’m not trying to chase a film career. If a great opportunity presents itself, I’ll go for it, but my love and my passion is stand-up. I don’t want to be one of those guys that just uses stand-up as a stepping stone. My goal was always to be a stand-up comedian. All the other stuff is frosting on the cake.

I heard you were going to start working with NUVOtv.

Yeah, there’s a potential project in the works right now – in animation as a matter of fact. We’re doing a pilot, that’s for sure. It’s an animated series called “Hey, it’s Fluffy.” It’s basically me as a kid.

The first thing I thought of when you mentioned the cartoon was Louie Anderson’s cartoon “Louie,” which I always thought was underrated.

That’s funny. I just had a conversation about that a few minutes ago. Yeah, [“Hey, it’s Fluffy” is] in that vein. It’s my voice. I’m not changing it up. It’s me surrounded by my friends and what life was like as a kid.

What was Gabriel Iglesias like as a kid in comparison to as an adult now?

Not a whole lot of difference, bro. I got a little more grey hairs now. (Laughs) But, actually, I was pretty quiet as a kid. I definitely talk a lot more as an adult. I listened a lot more when I was a kid. Everybody was always telling me to be quiet, so that was my childhood. I was real chill, but as soon as the curtains opened up, I was on. The first time I got on stage, I was 10 years old.

I would’ve guessed you were the class clown.

Nah, I was never that guy. There are some guys that are always on and never turn it off, but I need a break. I need to use the restroom, check my Twitter. I can’t be trying to entertain everybody all the time.

When was the first time you realized you could make someone laugh?

Probably when I was 9 or 10 years old. The first time I got a laugh on stage, it threw me off. I was a big fan – and still am – of impressionist Rich Little. When he would do some of his stuff, people would applaud. In my head I thought that’s what they were supposed to do. When they started laughing it was like, “Whoa, wait a minute!” But once I got the second and third laugh I was like, “OK, this is working!”

Now that you’re in “Planes,” are you going to try to get some kind of cross promotion deals with an airline and fly around for free for the rest of your life? I hear stand-up comedians travel a whole lot.

Man, if I could, that would be great. I fly so much! I fly SO much! I’m at an airport right now! That’s funny to me that we’re doing this interview and I’m at an airport. (Laughs) I’m in an airport at least 300 hours a year.

What’s the longest layover you’ve had?

About nine hours!

Oh, man. You’re like the Edward Snowden of stand-up comedians.

Yeah, like Tom Hanks in “The Terminal!”

What do you think Snowden does all day long in the airport?

I don’t know. You can only go to the gift shop and restroom so many times.