By Ariana Palominos
Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias gave Boyle Heights students and community members a private and up close and personal talk about his life this week. The East Los Angeles YMCA hosted an exclusive screening of “The Fluffy Movie” and Iglesias joined afterwards to take questions from the audience. The positive energy was felt as soon as you stepped inside the auditorium at the Wellness Center. Close to one hundred people attended, and the audience laughed and cheered throughout the movie which began with stories of the comedian’s son, his struggles with his weight and health, and the time his father reappeared in his life after being absent for 30 years.
David Valdez, the director of the youth development at the YMCA, collected questions from youth before the screening, and led a question and answer session following the movie. Boyle Heights Beat reporter Guadalupe Lazaro asked about the impressions and sound effects Iglesias uses in his comedic routines.
Iglesias said his first time doing a sound effect was when he was 10 years old. “It was actually a little girl voice… puberty is what it is called,” answered Iglesias.
Nineteen years ago, Iglesias started his career performing in open mics, and at bars in places like Montebello. “I always wanted to be noticed,” said Iglesias, who says he was not a popular kid. He says while he always knew what he wanted to do; many tried to talk him out of being a comedian and told him he’d never make it.
Iglesias now performs 46 weeks out of the year, usually 4 times a week. He has performed in front of 20,000 people at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Palo Alto and is one of a handful of comics that has performed at Madison Square Gardens in New York City.
When asked what advice he had for Latinos he said you need to know exactly what you want and have a goal. “Dreams can happen,” he said, “but you need to make sacrifices.”
The audience asked several questions about health. The comedian suffers from Type 2 Diabetes, and at one point was only given two years to live. He has since lost more than one hundred pounds, but says eating well is a constant struggle.
“I am an example of what happens when you eat too much fast food,” he said. Following the Q and A, audience members got the opportunity to take a picture with Iglesias and shake his hand.