Gabriel Iglesias should teach lessons on how to receive standing ovations. At the New York Comedy Festival last week he got one just for stepping on stage and then got another when he left. I'd love to have that ability in everyday life; constant applause would be a nice distraction from the usual booing from perceptive children. Iglesias took some time backstage to answer Jokes.com's questions about his style, UFC and racist gift baskets. [Applause]
Was your act always like it is now?
No, in the beginning it was just me doing characters, impressions. It took me about a year and a half before I actually talked about myself — and then I did it in character. And then people thought it was funny and it was like, 'Oh, okay.'
Did you always wear Hawaiian shirts?
The Hawaiian shirts they came probably about three years into it, where I just wanted to have a look that was totally different then what anybody else had. I figured once I tried it once with the Hawaiian shirt I'm like, "Hey, it's comfortable and it's loud." And my whole thing was I want to get attention. Next time I did TV, boom, I wore a Hawaiian shirt and then by the time I did it a third time I was like, "That's it. It's going to be me, shorts, a Hawaiian shirt." It's worked out.
Do you have a favorite shirt?
No, I have close to 400.
Fans often bring you gifts. Do you have a favorite?
We got a really interesting gift basket on tour that was ginormous. It had everything from a scuba diving mask to tiling tools, beer, all sorts of crazy stuff.
[Interview Note: This gift basket seemed odd at the time, but made sense after watching Iglesias's set where he told his old story "Racist Gift Basket" (clip below). Apparently, fans have gotten creative with his material. After hearing the story, one fan in Mobile, Alabama brought him this ginormous gift basket with shiny silver gardening tools, shovel, gift certificate to Home Depot, tiling tools, beer and a snorkel (so you can put it on when you try to enter the country). Racism at its finest.]
What do you do to keep entertained on the road?
Work. I'm a work-a-holic. We're on the road a lot. Easily over 45 weeks out of the year.
Do you bring anything to remind you of home?
My friends. All my friends are comedians and so when I got everybody together for the tour, we started traveling and it turned out nice. This way I'm not all bummed that I'm gone. I'm hanging out with real friends and it's like a band. But it's a responsible band. Nobody gets arrested and we don't have any drama.
We also like video games. We play UFC all day.
Who is your favorite?
If you were a fighter, what would be your name?
Thunder. Just Thunder. Fluffy in wrestling probably won't fly. They'd put me in the women's league or something.
Now we're going to play a game where I give you the title to a TV show that doesn't exist and you tell me what it's about. The first one is The Ghost Hugger.
It's a show where a guy goes to houses and he spends most of the time touching and feeling on the walls because he feels the spirits inside. And if the house is haunted you have to hug the house. Just hug the house, try to get the vibe from it.
Next is Honey, I Shrunk the Dog.
It's a guy who rescues dogs from swimming pools. Whenever they fall in they call this guy to pull dogs out.
Finally, Cuteness Incorporated.
That would be my ex. That's why she had to go. Just her putting on makeup all day. "I'm not pretty enough, I'm not pretty enough." It's a show about foundation.