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Don’t mess with the celebs

American stand-up comedy veteran Gabriel Iglesias on why he won’t make fun of Bollywood actors, and why he is nicknamed ‘fluffy’

tv Updated: Sep 07, 2013 15:28 IST
Serena Menon

At a time when a large part of stand-up comedy tends to be risqué in its content, Gabriel Iglesias’s humour stands apart. Mostly because taking children or accompanying parents to his show isn’t something you have to think twice about. “I don’t like making people feel uncomfortable,” he says, speaking to us at a city hotel. The American comic is currently in the country for the Chuckle Festival presented by Live Viacom 18. On September 5, he performed for audiences in Mumbai and his trip will culminate with a show in Delhi. He tells us what he has in common with Disney and why he likes to play it safe.

How is that you wanted to take up stand-up comedy at 10?
I saw Eddie Murphy Raw (1987). It’s a stand-up comedy concert film. And it was raw, dirty, stuff that you can never put on TV. But as a 10-year-old, it made me laugh. It’s funny though that my material is non-offensive, and I was inspired by a comic who is. It’s funny because I am a fan of dirty humour.

Why wouldn’t you do that on stage then?
That’s not me. I like people saying ‘I was able to bring my kids and parents’. The broader you make your show, the more people want to see it, which is the reason Disney is Disney. They don’t rock the boat, they don’t do anything that offends or is political or controversial… and some people say, ‘Well, that’s considered fluffy,’ but that works for me.

You obviously know about the Hindi film industry.
I have watched some clips, and I met Priyanka Chopra. We did a film together (Planes). When I told Priyanka I was coming here, she said, ‘You’re going to love it’.

Did you consider writing material on Indian actors?
No, they told me that’s sacrilege; don’t mess with the celebrities. Russell (Peters) did it and he got into trouble. I don’t do any material on politics or religion either. I don’t do topical humour. I try to do stuff that I can use a year from now. Writing a joke that’s only good for that day is a waste.