Fluffymania Hits Tampa

By on January 2, 2018

 

Gabriel Iglesias’s tour seems less like a stand-up show and more like
a ‘Celebrity Encounter Experience’.

His audience, which he’s built up largely online, certainly adore the
California comic who calls himself ‘Fluffy’ and exudes an easy
likeability. They give him rapturous applause and enjoy his every
word. This might be his first time in Tampa, but most know the
Latino’s older routines so well that they holler out key lines such as
‘Mart-eeeen’ as one.

New stories, drawn from his seemingly never-ending time on the road,
are full of fan encounters. He’s the sort of comic who’ll always pose
for a selfie (but no leaning on him, he’s adamant about that), and the
usual ‘no photography’ rule at the top of the Fluffymania tour
includes instructions on what to do with the gifts you might have
brought him. That’s how many he gets that he needs an announcement:
the Fluffy Facts projected on the screen as we come in tells us he’s
received 15,000 chocolate cakes over his career.

Then there are the videos of other comics congratulating him on 20
years in the business, and plugs for the merch, including a long bit
of business to give away one T-shirt to the biggest guy in the room,
conducted by his warm-up and hype guy Alfredo Robles.

 

It’s all about building a relationship, and Iglesias is happy to deal
with people interrupting as part of that –and this is a crowd that
likes to shout out. He is slick and easy with the banter and he comes
across above all else as a genuine and affable guy.

But if you’re not already on the Fluffy train, there’s probably not
enough substance in these tales from his globetrotting tour to win you
over. They’re diverting yarns – of smoking a giant spliff with Snoop
Dogg on his internet chat show, of going through airport security with
a suspicious looking item and them not appreciating his goofing
around, of the lavish perks of a seven-star Saudi Arabia hotel – but
with no real punchlines.

It’s the sort of material that gets greeted with claps that show an
appreciation, rather than a more visceral reaction of a laugh. His
considerable vocal talents liven up some anecdotes – from sound
effects to impersonations of Mr. Dogg and his comedy hero Chris Rock –
though he uses this gift only sparingly.

Stories also tend to be wrung out longer than they need to be. The
Chris Rock encounter has him gingerly go into the star’s dressing
room, and be flatteringly addressed as ’the king of the Mexicans’.
That’s all you need to know about that humblebrag, which nonetheless
spanned a couple of minutes.

But going on too long is all part of his conspiracy with the fans. He
has a timer on stage which seems to exist only for him to rebel
against. He’s a bit of a manipulator, blatantly soliciting ovations
several times and he gets the crowd to egg him on in his
over-running, and ends up performing for about an hour and
three-quarters, And that’s after a perfunctory 20-minute opening act
from slick but unnotable Robles. But when you look back at all the
time on stage, there’s very little that’s memorable.

Some of the ‘extra’ time comes from doing the greatest hits that the
audience yells out requests for. Iglesias accepts this is comedy
karaoke and races through old favorites – the only time it seems like
he’s going through the motions as opposed to genuinely loving his time
on stage.

But it’s the crowd’s favorite bit and helps him build the instant and
near-universal standing ovation at the end. The adorable comic is thus
given his adoration, but Fluffysceptics are likely to remain
nonplussed.

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