Gabriel Iglesias has a soft spot in his fluffy heart for Tucson. • The robust stand-up, who rose to fame on the NBC reality show "Last Comic Standing," played his first away-from-home gig at Bugsy's, a now-closed club on North Oracle Road. • He still has the poster from the show on a wall at home.
"For me I was just excited at taking off on the road," he says. "I had only been doing comedy a month, month and a half."
Typically dressed in a Hawaiian shirt, Iglesias says that he's not fat, he's fluffy. His shows are a mixture of storytelling, parodies, characters and sound effects.
On Friday, he'll play a gig at the Fox Tucson Theatre.
He spoke with Caliente by phone from his home in Long Beach, Calif.
What did you do for the holidays?
"Tried to avoid relatives."
"Successfully. I try and keep it simple. I have four sisters, one brother. I managed to only hang out with one sister and one brother."
You played the Fox about a year ago. How did that go?
"Funny story. They were talking about how they had a (movie) coming up called 'The Gay Desperado.' We got to the theater and when I went to take a picture of the marquee I saw that it said 'Gabriel Iglesias' and under it 'The Gay Desperado.' So I got a picture of myself under the marquee. It's on my MySpace page."
You're getting more successful, and much of your act is about sports cars and fame. Do you worry about losing your everyman cred?
"Not really. I feel that I'm able to still relate on regular things, that don't have to do with money or popularity. I talk about being a stepfather or partner. I gotta address who I am and what I'm doing and how I deal with stuff. But I try to keep the show so everyone can relate to it."
Is that the same reason you avoid talking about politics?
"Nobody wants to hear it. Sure, somebody will agree with you. But if you talk about politics you divide the room in half. If you talk about religion, you divide the room in half."
How has your material changed?
"I think I'm really trying to put more of myself out there. Cutting out 'what if' type jokes. Things happen to me, and I try and put it out there on stage. Especially family drama. I've been talking a lot about my mom lately. We haven't been talking. Everybody can relate to having somebody in their family that they don't get along with."
Do you ever worry that talking about damaged relationships on stage will further hurt those relationships?
"The relationship is already affected, and if nothing else I get their attention and they see my point."
You've worked in TV ("My Wife and Kids" and "All That"). Any plans to do more acting?
"Not really. I'm enjoying myself. The whole audition process is grueling. They like you, they need you, then it turns out they gave it to somebody else. If an Adam Sandler came up to me and said, 'Hey, I want you in my movie and I want you to play this part,' I'm pretty sure I'd do a movie. But I'm done with auditioning."
Got any New Year's resolutions?
"I stopped doing that a long time ago. I'm still fat."