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Gabriel Iglesias has quickly become one of comedy’s most powerful brands. His live comedy DVDs are best-sellers, his Web site stocks more T-Shirts than Fruit of the Loom, and he’s currently embarking on a 50-stop bus tour that stops in Phoenix Feb. 6.
Iglesias stole a moment away from his PlayStation 3 to chat with us about the tour and his ascending career.
Q: Your Wikipedia entry (which of course is infallable) lists Robin Williams and Paul Rodriguez as your major influences. Who else fuels your passion for comedy?
“Guys who are killing it now like Dane Cook and Jeff Dunham set the bar for me and make me strive to play to packed arenas. I always stay hungry. No pun intended.”
Q: Was there a defining moment in your childhood that made you decide to go into comedy?
“When I was 10 years old I saw Eddie Murphy: Raw and knew right then that it was what I wanted to do. My show is very clean by comparison but the interaction Eddie had with the crowd was so cool and really stuck with me.”
Q: Your “I’m not fat, I’m fluffy” bit has taken on a life of its own, with hundreds of thousands of DVDs sold, a 50-stop bus tour, and an online store. With your increased fame, do you consider yourself a role model for plus-size men?
“I don’t really consider myself a role model but I do try to make it very cool and very sexy to be a plus-size man. It’s all about staying postitive and not all ‘woe is me.’ I would love to drop some pounds but it’s not easy. I struggle with diabetes and a lot of my fans deal with weight issues, too, but while we’re dealing with it we can still have fun.”
Q: Speaking of plus-size, fluffyguy.com sells T-shirts in size 6XL. Where does 6XL fit on your “6 Levels of Fatness”?
“We actually did a custom order for 10XL once. I didn’t believe the guy so I made him send me a photo of himself and the 10XL tag on his shirt. The story checked out so we had the shirts printed up. That’s real big though.”
Q: What are some of the pros and cons of tour bus life?
“Believe it or not it’s easier to manage my diet on the bus because I have people planning out my meals ahead of time and stocking the bus with the right foods. I also have my own video game setup in the back which is cool.”
Q: What about the cons?
“The biggest con is Month No. 3 when the bus smells like butt and feet. It’s pretty snug with 12 of us so there’s no privacy. Good thing we’re all friends.”
Q: You used to own a house here in Phoenix so you must have a strong connection to the city. What do you like most about the crowds here?
“I’ve been coming to Phoenix for 10 years now and I love playing there because the crowds treat it like a rock concert. This show is going to be very exciting for me because never played a venue as big as Dodge Theatre. Just let the fans know that nothing has changed; I’m still going to hang out after the show to meet everyone.”