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.

Magic Mike

June 29, 2012 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matthew McCoughnahay
Directed by: Steven Soderbergh (“Traffic”)
Written by: Reid Carolin (debut)

Channing Tatum is a beefcake. I’ve met him face to face and can tell you, for a fact, that he is an unnervingly handsome man. Of course Hollywood realized it years ago, sticking him in thankless lunkhead roles wherein his only direction seemed to be “keep being handsome.”

On the surface, this trend seems to continue with “Magic Mike.” Tatum plays Mike, a 30-year-old male stripper living a hard-partying vampire’s life in Tampa, Florida. Mike is the star attraction at Xquisite, an all-male revue club owned by half-crazy semi-retired stripper Dallas (Matthew McCoughnahay), where he spends his nights earning g-strings full of singles by grinding on housewives and brides-to-be. On occasion, though, Mike strives to have a day job, and while working construction he meets Adam (Alex Pettyfer), a 19-year-old college dropout who quits the gig after the foreman catches him trying to make off with an extra Pepsi. Mike takes him under his wing, and a night that begins with Adam suffering through dinner with his sister Brooke (Cody Horn) and her d-bag boyfriend ends with him awkwardly stripping for co-eds at the club under the newly-minted stage name “The Kid.”

Once again, Steven Soderbergh (“Traffic”) makes directing look breezy and effortless, letting conversational scenes unfold at a distance in one improvisational take while cheeseball dance routines are shot and choreographed to highlight every ab, pec, and glute writhing on the smoke-filled stage. The film evokes “Boogie Nights” without the pathos, reveling in a theatrical form of sexual entertainment (dig those Vegas-worthy props and costume changes) someone like your mom might happily partake in while portraying the performers as a close-knit, make-shift family. Led by an hilariously self-parodying McCoughnahay (who plays the bongos nearly-naked and constantly drawls “alright, alright, alright!”), the men known as the “cock-rocking kings of Tampa” end up being less tragic than expected…at least at first. A late-movie shift toward the dark underbelly of drug use feels inevitable yet wrong somehow, especially after the raunchy fun and camaraderie on display in the first two acts.

Perhaps that’s how it really happens, though, as Reid Carolin’s screenplay is based on Channing Tatum’s real-life experience as a male stripper. Building off his winning performance in “21 Jump Street,” Tatum owns “Magic Mike” from beginning to end. His stellar moves drive the excitement of the dance sequences, and his natural charisma opposite Pettyfer and an always-scowling Horn powers the plot past its few narrative leaps of faith. This beefcake has real chops.

As a man, its tempting to dismiss “Magic Mike” as nothing but a male stripper movie–and the screening I saw being filled with dressed-up women whooping it up certainly reinforced that this is the public sentiment toward the film–but that’s not fair to one of the most interesting Hollywood turnaround stories in Channing Tatum and one of the most prolific, creative directors working today in Soderbergh.

You aren’t going to want to stuff a dollar in its g-string, but throwing it ten dollars at the box office wouldn’t be a mistake.