Theater Review: Gabriel Iglesias

Melissa Garrett

Fluffy fans doting “Fluffy” zip-up hoodies, plush “Fluffy” dolls and miniature cutouts of a smiling Gabriel Iglesias lined the brightly-lit aisles at Stephens Auditorium.

As audience members entered the theater, booming pop music played and three large TV screens on stage invited fans to Tweet and Instagram, using the hashtag ‘#UnityThroughLaughter’ and Gabriel Iglesias’ Twitter handle, @fluffyguy, to get their message posted on the big screens.

During “Rated ‘F’ for Fluffy,” the lights dimmed as a Jib-Jab-esque character of Iglesias appeared on screen to explain ‘The Rules’ of the show with the help of a donkey named Donkasaurous. The short clip was followed by the entrance of the infamous comedian Martin Moreno, who ‘Fluffy’ refers to in several of his stories on stage. Moreno’s not-so-clean humor was directed toward the adults in the audience, so he apologized in advance to the youngsters in the crowd.

After three opening comedians, including Moreno, Stand-Up Revolution comedian Larry Omaha and comedian Rick Gutierrez, and a 20-minute intermission, the stage lit up like a Christmas tree as the center curtain, outlined with a cartoonish ‘Fluffy’ pointing an arm upward,  fell to reveal the mischievous, smiling face of Iglesias, who pumped up his arms with energy to the screaming crowd.

“It’s good to be back, Ames — I told you I’d be back!,” boomed the voice of “Fluffy,” as a number of fans stood up immediately and cheered, “Fluffy!” and “I love you, Fluffy!”

Wearing a black Nirvana shirt underneath a shiny, black short-sleeved button up shirt with jean shorts and white Nike tennis shoes, Iglesias asked fans not to take pictures or record his show, since he would be trying out a 45-minute new set. If fans resisted the temptation to take pictures or record him, Iglesias promised the audience would have an opportunity to request old stuff from his previous shows, to which the audience roared with delight.

One of the most unique aspects of Iglesias’ show was his ability to create sound effects and character voices for all of his stories. Sharing stories about what it is like to be recognized by fans, about his family and random subjects, like automatic toilets and sinks, was especially entertaining as Iglesias shared his frustrations with automatic toilets flushing and sucking down the toilet seat cover in the process. Iglesias’ sound effects combined with his persona and facial expressions made for a hilarious and thoroughly enjoyable performance, regardless of the subject matter.

Iglesias personalized the show by interacting with the audience and commented on how cold it was on stage, while placing his leg up on one of blowing fans on stage to show the audience. Keeping his leg up on the fan, he jokingly said in a disgusted teenage girl voice, “Oh my god, it smells like Cracker Barrel,” and then switching to a man’s voice said, “Oh my god, I love Cracker Barrel,” while the audience roared with laughter at his self-depreciating humor.

When Iglesias opened the floor for audience suggestions, audience members animatedly cheered for his “Krispy Kreme donut” story, where Iglesias was pulled over by a policeman while eating donuts, the “Volkswagen beetle” story, and “Donkey,” a story about him drinking in Ireland and imitating an Irishman.

Iglesias did not seem to anticipate a number of audience members yelling, “Martin!” and other phrases along with him during his stories, and he stopped upon hearing an auditorium full of fans repeating phrases from his jokes back to him. Flattered and grinning broadly, Iglesias said, “Stop it!” to the echoing audience and had to briefly recollect himself before he laughingly said, “When did my jokes become a song? I hear you Ames. Should I keep going?” to which the entire theater resonated with, “YEAH!”

Some of my favorite voices Iglesias used were his Irishman/Mike Myers voice, his imitation of Siri for black and white iPhones, and imitations of people from Australia and Asia. I laughed so hard I actually cried during Iglesias’ performance, which is perhaps the best collection of stand-up comedy routines I have ever seen.

The show ran overtime by roughly one hour, but Iglesias’ commitment to his fans was obvious after he entertained four encore stories before bowing and thanking the audience for coming to his show. To no surprise, “Fluffy” received an immediate standing ovation from the cheering audience. Giving a thumbs-up to the audience, Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” blared and lights glittered on stage as Iglesias smiled and waved goodbye to adoring fans.