‘Fluffy’ is Coming: Gabriel Iglesias to perform at Stephens Auditorium

Gabriel Iglesias, also known by fans worldwide as “Fluffy,” will perform at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 22 at Stephens Auditorium. 

Melissa Garrett

With his unique and animated comedy style, Gabriel Iglesias is bringing his Hawaiian shirts and “Fluffy” memorabilia to Ames at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 22 at Stephens Auditorium.  

Uniting people through laughter is important to Iglesias, who has been to all 50 United States — both big and small cities — and toured all over the world.

The idea for Iglesias’ Unity Through Laughter World Tour began when Iglesias was performing in Saudi Arabia and Iglesias saw a Saudi Arabian prince and a U.S. ambassador seated next to each other.

“They were both sitting next to each other in the front row and I was like, ‘really? This is what brings people together?’” Iglesias said. “The show itself was uniting people, and that’s where the whole ‘Unity Through Laughter’ came from.”

With 90 percent of fans calling him ‘Fluffy,’ Iglesias premiered his “Gabriel Iglesias: Aloha Fluffy” special on Comedy Central in a two-night special to more than 15 million viewers.

Also well-known for his “Hot & Fluffy” and “I’m Not Fat … I’m Fluffy” TV specials, Iglesias most recently wrapped up filming “Magic Mike XXL,” reprising his role as Tobias, and will be seen alongside actors such as Channing Tatum, Matt Bomer and Joe Manganiello, which hits theaters this July.

As one of America’s most successful stand-up comedians, Iglesias grew up in Long Beach, Calif., and always wanted to become a comedian.

“[Comedy] is what I set out to do. This isn’t a Plan B,” Iglesias said. “I had a dream of becoming a comedian and I made that happen, so for me, I’m always living that dream. I do get recognized daily, but if I’m going out somewhere I expect it.”

Iglesias remembers the first time he was recognized in Tucson, Ariz., after only six months of being a comedian, when he was at a restaurant with two other comedians.

“The waiter [came] over, and I had done one TV show, and it just so happens that that waiter saw that one TV show and he recognized me, and he just flipped out,” Iglesias said. “It was pretty cool. I just remember walking out of that restaurant and I had a little glow.”

Some of the best advice Iglesias ever received was from comedian Joey Medina, who told him there was no need to be a dirty comic. By cleaning up his act, Medina informed Iglesias he would be television-ready and avoid an extensive editing process to bleep out cuss words.

“In the beginning, I was a super-dirty comic. I was filthy,” Iglesias said. “[Medina] said, ‘You’re very likable and you don’t need to cuss.’ The best advice I ever got was, ‘Work clean and you’ll go further.’ After that, I tried to keep it squeaky-clean until I got to the position where people wanted to pay to see the show. The show’s not squeaky-clean, by no means, but it’s not a filthy show all the way.”

For his tour, Iglesias travels with two tour buses, three trailers and a number of people involved in the show, which is quite a challenge for him.

“In the beginning, all I had to worry about was just me, [but now] it’s a team. I feel like a rapper,” Iglesias said.

To prepare for larger shows, Iglesias creates his comedic material while playing at smaller comedy clubs.

“I call it the comedy gym. When I go to the club, that’s where I work stuff out,” Iglesias said. “Once you’re doing a huge arena, that material better have been worked out, better been honed, better been crafted right because these people paid [and] they expect to be entertained on that level.”

With more and more people coming to see “Fluffy,” Iglesias said he used to stick around to interact with fans after the bigger shows, but staying afterward was often as long or longer than his full performance.

“Each group that would come up [was] an actual meeting each time, so imagine just a huge line and everyone wants to come up. And you don’t want to rush anybody. They had a good time and they want to talk to you,” Iglesias said. “There’s a connection there. The last thing you want to do is take that away from them.”

With a nickname like “Fluffy,” Iglesias said he definitely gets the name “Fluffy” more than “Gabriel.”

“For the most part, [Fluffy] is all I get,” Iglesias said. “I’m cool with it. I put it out there, so I’m expecting it now.”

Beyond comedy, Iglesias has a clothing company at home, a production company, where he produces specials for other comics, and does a lot of online content. Owning more than 700 Hawaiian shirts at one point in time, Iglesias has Twitter contests for fans to win one of his iconic shirts with a photo of him wearing it.

Iglesias is on the road for more than 40 weeks of the year, so when he has free time, he enjoys spending it with his family when he goes home. “Fluffy” is thankful for his fans and recently purchased the car of his dreams: a 21-window, Volkswagen bus.

“If I have a couple hours to myself, I’ll jump in my car, take a little drive, go to Starbucks, say ‘hi’ to some people and drive back home. For me, a break is being at the house playing with the dogs, playing with the car,” Iglesias said. “I don’t take vacations because vacation[ing] [is] exactly what I’m doing right now. I’m at an airport, at a hotel, on a shuttle bus, I’m in a lobby, I’m going out to eat — that’s what I do now, but I’m telling jokes along with it,” Iglesias said.

Tickets for Gabriel Iglesias’ show are available via Ticketmaster and can also be purchased between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Stephens Auditorium ticket office. Prices are listed at $33, $48 and $68.

For more information about the show, visit the Iowa State Center’s Web Page for Gabriel Iglesias. For more information about remaining VIP ticket packages, please call the Iowa State Center at 515-294-3347.