by Ryan Meehan
On September 24th, Comedy Central Records released “Aloha Fluffy” – the double disc audio incarnation of the stand up special that aired back in April. Iglesias’ likability and friendly stage presence has made him one of today’s more popular comedians, and has made this special the most watched standup performance of 2013. So let’s take a luau of our own and see what makes his comedy so universal.
For all of those living in a cave that doesn’t get Comedy Central, Iglesias is of Hispanic descent. However, he doesn’t solely work off of his ethnicity to the degree of say…a George Lopez. It’s there, but it’s not what I would call dominant. Like most good comics, Iglesias’ strength lies in his storytelling and this disc exemplifies that.
Disc One – Original Air Special:
The album begins with the standard “It’s great to be here” bit, which is believable because after all – it IS paradise. Gabe goes through a couple of stories about the local culture and even introduces them to his favorite luau tour guide. He brought the guy to the show and put him in the front row, but as it turns out that would not be the most generous thing he would do on this night. But I’ll get to that later…
A lot of the material on disc centers around the relationship Iglesias shares with his step-son Frankie, as well as some bits about his current girlfriend. Now as you might remember from my review of Al Madrigal’s “Why is the Rabbit Crying?”, I’m not particularly entertained by parenting material. As I’ve said before, people go to comedy clubs to get away from the stuff they’re going through at home – not to have to re-live it. I did however enjoy the stories about Frankie, and I think there are two reasons for that: 1) It reminds me of the tough parenting “No Cure for Cancer” era Denis Leary stuff before everybody started calling him out for doing Bill Hicks’ shit, and 2) The child in question on “Aloha Fluffy” is much older than in a lot of other comedic examples that we’ve all had to suffer through. Frankie is fifteen, which makes his relationship with his stepfather a little bit more relatable to someone like me. It’s easier (at least for me) to relate to stories about people who are close to your age, because not everyone has raised a child since birth.
The record ends with a very intense story about how he was asked to perform for a Saudi Arabian prince, and the many fears that we would all have if we were suddenly placed in the Middle East where harm’s way could be around any corner. It wraps up quite nicely, but remember this is a double disc so it doesn’t end here.
Disc Two – Bonus Tracks:
The second disc is truly what it means to put out a record that contains “bonus material”. I’m going to try and explain this without giving away a lot of the details, because this is the reason that most comedy fans would want to own an album like this. To make a long story short, basically the story that he leads with is how he was driving to a gig in NorCal with his opener and saw that a friend of theirs (G Reilly) was going to be performing at the local Radisson in one of the cities that they were passing through. They play an epic prank on him and it’s described in detail. One of the reasons I’m not a big fan of pranks is because rarely do you get to hear the other guy’s side of the story…
But not here. What happens next is something that I have never heard on any other comedy record. Not only was Gabriel willing to let the other guy tell his side of the story, HE FLEW HIM OUT TO HAWAII AND LET HIM TAKE THE STAGE. DURING HIS SPECIAL. I’ve never heard of ANY comic anywhere doing something so unselfish as that; even on what is designated to be the bonus portion of the program. Reilly goes out there for just long enough for those of us unfamiliar with his work to get to know him, tells his half of the rest of the story, and absolutely crushes.
I should also make the point that on the first disc Iglesias works clean, but lets it fly on the second disc. Same thing with G Reilly there. The people that edited this special must love working for Gabriel because he just makes it so easy. There’s also a story about his audition for his latest movie role as a DJ in a film starring one Channing Tatum. (Hint: Movie includes an up close and personal shot of a penis pump) There’s also even more bonus material from what I am assuming is a different performance, and it’s also good although not as high energy as the rest of the release.
Gabriel Iglesias has so many different strengths it’s really hard to pick just one, and I’m not blowing any smoke up his ass by saying so. It’s mostly because I don’t smoke and I don’t want my face anywhere near his buttcrack, but seriously there’s hard to pick out just one thing that he does best. He can work clean and he can do crowd work. He can do voices and he can do sound effects. But more than anything, he has a certainly likability about him that is unmistakable. He has his own show on Comedy Central which showcases up and coming comedians, and you can really tell that it’s genuinely done so that he can help out those who have the will and skill to succeed. Simply put, there is no bullshit to sell because there is no bullshit there.
I would think that if you are a standup comedian trying to hone your craft, someone like Fluffy would be the perfect guy to watch. There’s so many little things involving timing and the like that make this record a total clinic in the art form. The only thing that may not hit for all comedy fans is the fact that it isn’t dirty enough, but if that’s the only thin you’re looking for you might want to just check out your local bus stop drunk instead and stay away from comedy. I thoroughly enjoyed this disc as some who really, really likes the raunchy stuff.
Gabriel can be heard as the voices of Ned and Zed in the new Disney Pixar movie “Planes” in theatres now and you can also catch him in his return to the big screen in the sequel “A Haunted House 2” alongside Marlon Wayans, which is set to hit theaters in March of 2014. Until then, if you’re a fan of his work, you might want to pick up this album, it’s guaranteed to make a long drive short, and a short drive as long as you want it to be.
Get: “Aloha Fluffy” on Comedy Central Records: http://shop.comedycentral.com/Aloha-Fluffy/A/B00EFYB0LK.htm
Overall Score: 8.65/10.0
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