Gabriel Iglesias and Eric Blake each unload a pair of comedy shows on Monterey County
Rotund Mexican American comedian Gabriel Iglesias does a clean act. If he swears, it's rare, and in Spanish: a puta here, a pinche there. In short, the comedian can do funny without going into foul territory.
But every now and then he pulls out a whopper of an bit called the "racist gift basket" that can wring squirms out of the mild mannered and ample laughter out of most everyone else. It's a daring sequence, and the self described "fluffy" comedian says he will perform it at his Fox Theater gig (a second show was added after the first one sold out) on Thursday, at one of many stops on his nationwide Fluffy Shop tour. Hint: It involves Ebony magazine, sunflower seeds and a Chris Rock DVD, Bigger and Blacker.
"I didn't do it on the [Comedy Central] special," he says by phone from his hotel room in Corscos, near Fresno, just prior to a show. "Last night was the kick off of the tour, and I was kind of a wreck." Now, he says, he's "very peaceful."
He looks at ease, though he sweats easily, on that triple platinum Comedy Central special DVD, I'm Not Fat I'm Fluffy: Live from El Paso snappy delivery and storytelling, rapport with the audience. To get there, it took a decade of increasingly higher profile appearances on shows like Last Comic Standing, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with Conan O'Brien ("I think Conan is getting the bad end of the deal"), Showtime at the Apollo and Comic View.
With a clothing line of his signature Fluffy brand,iphone 4 leather case chanel
, sell out theater dates, representation from Creative Artists Agency, and a MySpace page saturated with 11,300 photos with fans, Iglesias is on top of his game buoyed by his genuine appreciation for it all. On the DVD special, he invites fans to approach him wherever they see him for pictures or just to hang out: "You guys make it possible for me to have an incredible life and take care of my family."
That family his mom, his girlfriend and her 10 year old son Frankie, who Iglesias refers to as his own son appears in his routines. He texted his girl one night, drunk after a show in San Jose: "I went to Cinebar," he confessed. "That's nice," she texted back, which made him suspicious that she wasn't pissed. Turns out, his iPhone had ran a spell check; the nightclub became "Cinnabon."
Like that, his comedy more stories than jokes comes from the routine of his life. He turned in his VW Beetle because his friend and mentor Paul Rodriguez teased him mercilessly about it: "'I've never seen a car stretch out before.'"
Fans have made a tradition of bringing him chocolate cake after the show. In exchange he'll bring them that same charm that allows him to dominate his corner of the comedy game.
Eric Blake, who's playing Planet Gemini Friday and Saturday, hails from the other side of the tracks; he's the underground answer to Fluffy's mainstream appeal. resident confesses that he used to dabble in drug slinging, but, luckily for us, he found his way to comedy, as he explains on a self produced comedy show in what looks like a converted basement.
"If you get caught with crack cocaine, that's a year for each gram," he says. "The judge is going to whip out a scale, he's going to whip out a triple beam, weighing out your time.
"I saw a judge actually sentence someone to 140 years. The guy jumped up, 'Man, I can't do 140 years!' The judge said, 'Do what you can.'"
"You know what the coldest thing about the justice system is?" he continues. "'The United States vs. Eric Blake.'"
He pauses, looking incredulous. "The whole damn country mad at me?"
Comedy is spun from inside the court system and outside on the street. "Don't you hate the crackhead who looks at the dope like he's buying a house? They want to see it from all angles."
It makes you wonder how recently he got off the street and how he can lead a scary voyage that keeps a smile plastered on your face the whole way.
"It's called street life comedy," Blake tells his audience. "I talk about things that I've done, I talk about the streets. Open your mind if you don't have no money, stay out of court, black man .[Public defenders] are always trying to get you to take a deal [get you] on your side. 'They're offering us six.' Us? OK, dog, I'll do three, you do three."
He veers near activism, but make no mistake: Blake is naturally, bitterly funny. You can take the kids to see Gabriel Iglesias, but as an adult, you owe yourself Eric Blake's unique take on street life.
THE FLUFFY SHOP TOUR starts 7pm (sold out) and 10pm Thursday, Jan. 28, at Fox Theater, 241 Main St., Salinas. $39.50.
ERIC BLAKE plays 9:15pm Friday and Saturday, Jan. 29 30, at Planet Gemini, 2110 N. Fremont St., Monterey. $8/Friday; $10/Saturday. 373 1449.
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