Thursday, February 18, 2010
Remember a couple weeks ago when I said I'd post an interview with Gabriel Iglesias? Well, I finally got around to that today (late pass).
I've posted this several times, but Iglesias is truly the nicest subject I've interviewed since I got this gig. Always engaging and open, eager to work with me and really give me whatever I need for my story. And this interview was further proof of what I mean by all of that.
Iglesias opened up to me like only a few other subjects I've had before. Tech N9ne was one, 2Mex another. Guys who weren't afraid to speak on their personal lives and share something beyond their public image.
Enjoy the interview. It's a long read, for sure, but well worth it. And by all means, check out Iglesias' shows and specials. He is a truly remarkable talent.
On his current road schedule:
Pretty much since I got into comedy, I've been on tour. There's been no down time. I think the most time I've taken off has probably been two weeks.
I'm non-stop bro. I work hard man. I'm on the road, 46-47 weeks of the year.Last year, easily, I want to say (I performed) close to 350 shows. I perform almost every day. Some days I do two shows, some days I do almost three. This is year two (of 200-300 shows a year). I 'm going on 13 years doing stand up, 12 years of hitting it hard.
For the tours themselves, because of the magnitude of it, and because there's a sponsor and a network and people backing it, it's not one of those shows where you can go out and practice new material. Don't get me wrong, there's going to be about 20 minutes of stuff that I've been working on the last year and it will definitely come into the play, but I let the audience after that.
Basically, I take requests from the audience. Kind of make it interactive, where if they want to hear an old joke, I let them yell it out from the audience. It's been working pretty successfully, to where if anybody has a request, then boom, they yell something out and I do it. The crowd gets happy, I almost feel like a comedy mariachi.
They know what they like. They'll listen to my new stuff, then they get a chance to get into some of the older stuff they like in TV. Sometimes they'll bring people who have never seen me before and they want to have that experience of saying ‘See, that's the joke I was telling you about.’
I'm lucky. Most of the time with comedians, once you've heard a joke once, that's it. What do you got now. I'm lucky. I'm a fairly young comic and I already have classics, which is great.
On building his dedicated fan base:
Small and bigger, it's all the same, especially after the shows when I get to talk to people. I get people that'll come out dressed like me or they'll come out and tell me they have these parties. They'll have Gabriel parties. They'll have 10 friends come to the house and everybody wears a Hawaiian shirt and everybody's drinking Diet Coke and eating cheese and chocolate. I'm like wow, really? That's hardcore. that's almost like Trekkies. I almost feel like my fans are that hard core.
My fans, I tell people, I have the greatest fans ever. They're very loyal, very supportive. I don't have mean fans, or people at my shows getting all pissed off or getting weirded out by what I'm saying. But then again, I never really crossed the line with anything, I just try to keep the shows really friendly. Everybody gets to have a good time.
Don't get me wrong, in Salinas I will be throwing down a little Spanish, for obvious reasons.
On coming back to Salinas and smaller venues:
Honestly, you got to take care of the people that take care of you. I know that sounds like cliche, or borderline phony, but that's the case. The reason I've had the fans that I have is because I've been consistent over the years and kept coming back and doing the same runs. I'm never going to stop doing the cities I've gone through. I'm only going to add.
I'm still going to go to all the same markets, big or small. This tour is kicking off in Bakersfield. I could have kicked it off in New York, L.A., Houston or Chicago, but I chose Bakersfield to kick it off. I try to keep it so that I don't forget. I constantly get people telling me ‘Don't ever forget us.’ I say ‘Okay I won't.’
All of this, bro, can go away tomorrow. I'm very realistic about that.
Some comics will say ‘I made it.’ I say, you didn't make it, the people made you make it. They're the ones who made it all happen.
You have to keep it very realistic, because you see people rise and you see people fall. That's why you have to take care of people on your way up, because if you take care of people on the way up, when you're on your way out, they'll make your landing a little bit softer.
For the Salinas date, I'm bringing the same group of guys I've always had with me, just because I got a network backing me now doesn't mean I got a whole new crew (laughs). Just because there's more money involved, I didn't cut all my guys loose and start off with a bunch of new guys. I got the same group of knuckleheads.
Martin Moreno, Noe Gonzalez, and Alfred Robles. It's very historical, it's the first time a major tour has ever been done like this with all Latinos on it. We're going outside the box. We're not just going to be the southwest, we're going to be coast to coast. Come June, we're going to go international. I got tour dates set up for Europe, Australia and Canada.
On playing a gig in Amman, Jordan:
Ooh, nombre! When I went out there, I was scared bro. I was like ‘Are these people going to get it?’ I did not give them enough credit.
The people who came out to the shows not only got it, they were bilingual, and they were super hip on everything. They watch YouTube over there like nobody's business. And apparently, I'm pretty popular on YouTube.
When I walked out on stage, nombre, it was like Menudo in the 1980s.
When I walked up and I said there's five levels of fatness, they roared. I didn't even get to say the whole joke, they were already roaring.
Over here in America, when I say the jokes and they like it, they'll say the punchline with me. Like I'll say ‘There's big, healthy, husky, fluffy and the whole audience will say “Damn!” Over there, they were saying every single part of (the joke) I would say ‘Big’ ,and I would hear all these people in the room saying “Big” with me, and then ‘Healthy’, and then ‘Husky,’ they'd say the whole freaking joke over.
It was great man, I felt like royalty, literally. The shows went really really good. The fans over there really love American comedy over. Anybody who came out to the show was bilingual, so they had their own language, and they understood English.
Then I had a chance to hang out with the King of Jordan. We had a chance to go to his house. It was a comedian named Russell Peters and myself and our entourage of people, and we had a chance to visit the king.
When you think of the King of Jordan, you think of someone who has a very strong Middle Eastern sounding (accent) and not at all man. He went to school in Boston, so he has a sort of an (American) accent to him.
It was beautiful. His house was almost like a casino in Las Vegas, minus the slot machines. When you pull up in front of it, you're like ‘Okay, where's the valet?’ It's huge. It looks really, really big. Inside, there's gold, marble, you name it. There's just, no words to describe it. It's really really pimp.
On 2009 being his most successful year:
Definitely, this was the best year. Financially, it was the greatest year. Career wise, the greatest year. As far as like the relationships with the fans, greatest year.
Personal life, probably one of the worst ones. Personal life, it was definitely one of the worst ones.
It's like, it's kind of a weird balance bro. Really, really weird. And I tell people sometimes it's a curse, the ability to go out on stage. You make people laugh, you entertain people, smile, and feel good. But my curse is not being able to do that at home.
Don't get me wrong, with my girl and my kid it's okay, but with my mom and siblings and other members of the family, it kind of sucks bro. Because they see me as something else now. I got a brother who calls me ‘Hollywood.’ Sisters kind of keep their distance. Even my mom is kind of like ‘ahhh’ with me.
Yeah dude, it really sucks . And I wish things were different. Unfortunately, they don't understand everything I go through on a day to day basis to be able to maintain what I'm doing. They think oh no, se la pasa bien, he just goes out there, puro party, puro party, puro party. They don't see the work that goes behind it. That's kind of tough for me. It's hard to explain because they don't want to hear it.
Sorry, to make it sound like a downer bro, but you want to keep the story, and I want to keep myself as realistic as possible.
And I put all this stuff out there. Remember I said there's 20 new minutes (of material)? The 20 new minutes is me talking about how life is great as a comic, but life at home as regular Gabriel, esta cabron hombre.
Now I understand why people do drugs, why people drink, and why people go crazy. As the success level goes up and up and up, the further detached I get from everybody else. Luckily, with my girlfriend, everything is gravy because I brought her into it. I brought her in and she's very hands on with my career. I got her involved with all the managerial side. She sees all the tour dates, she does all the processing of the money, she oversees a lot of things. Right now, she's down stairs in an office, working on deals and transactions while I'm on the phone.
She understands. She sees whats going on, therefore she doesn't give me a hard time. At the end of the day she goes ‘You know what baby? You're out there, you're working, you're doing what you got to do.’ She's just happy that I took her and her son on. Luckily with her, it's perfect. If I could only get that with the rest of the family, I'd be okay. But unfortunately, I've hired family members in the past and they make shitty employees. They get comfortable man. No quieren hacer nada. It's like ‘Ahh, I don't got to take this serious. He's my brother.’ Oh yeah? Then when they get fired, they're like ‘What happened. No dices nada?’
To me, it's okay at Christmas, because I don't have to buy nothing. And then the rest of the year, it gets a little tough.
I don't know if this is the interview you wanted, Marc. Pero, cabron, you wanted to get personal, hay se va guey.
I have to vent, If I don't vent, I'm gonna go postal (laughs). Seriously,man, I understand now how people can go crazy. I'm not as quick to judge. When people show up on TMZ, or you see those “E Hollywood Stories,” or you see them on “Snapped,” you see they're doing drugs, or this and that, I understand. I was very quick to judge in the past, but now, nombre, I get it. I get it. I'm not doing it, but I get it.
It has compromised (my show) a little bit in that I don't enjoy myself as much, and that does effect me on stage. Because there's some times where I wind up going off in another area, or I start worrying more about myself, as opposed to making sure that the fans have a good. time.
There was one show that I did where I started venting a little too much, and after the show, I had people hugging me and it was like ‘It's gonna be okay.’ I was like ‘Are you kidding me? That's how bad it was?’ I'm like ‘Oh my god.’
They still stuck around (after the show), but they wanted to meet me and take a picture, and they still laughed, but they totally felt me, and they were like, ‘Dude, it's alright.’ I had people inviting me to restaurants afterward. ‘Ve te comer,’ or telling me ‘I have a dad, he's a counselor.’
I can laugh about it man, because I put it out there. That's one thing about my shows. I tell people, I'm not a comedian, I'm just a really funny reporter. I put my life out there and make it entertaining. By putting it out there, it helps me to deal with it, you know, so I don't snap and so I don't go off the handle when I get home.
Growing up, I was the last of six kids. I had a different dad than everybody else. Everyone else had their dad, I had the dad that was the mariachi. I didn't realize growing up that I was the half-brother. For me, I always was just the brother. I didn't realize there was all this drama and animosity until I was older. Then it was like ‘Oh wow, okay.’ It's a little different.
This past year, it was a great year for the career, but my mom and I were really tight. She had a stroke and she recovered from it, but at the time it got really. really tense. Everyone was trying to come to the rescue, but nobody was really there. There were all these issues from the past, before I even got into the picture. And my mom got mad at my girlfriend because my girlfriend was apparently telling her too much what to do.
I appreciate you listening to me right now, you know (laughs). Nombre, you put it out there. This way, if something happens to me, it was documented (laughs). Then you can say ‘We had a chance to save him and nobody did nothing’ (laughs).
Posted by Marc Cabrera at 1:00 PM