Gabriel Iglesias: FluffyMania World Tour | Gig review by Steve Bennett at the Brighton Dome

Gabriel Iglesias: FluffyMania World Tour

Gig review by Steve Bennett at the Brighton Dome

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 Brighton, 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 yell out requests for. Iglesias accepts this is comedy karaoke and races through old favourites – 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 favourite bit, and helps him build to  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.

Gabriel Iglesias’s Flffymania tour continues in Bristol, Manchester and London this week. Dates and tickets.

Review date: 27 Sep 2017
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Brighton Dome

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