A standup comic, actor, and voice performer also known by his nickname "Fluffy," Gabriel Iglesias has become one of America's most popular comedians for his material that deals with the ups and downs of modern life as well as his own experiences as an extra-large man. Gabriel Iglesias was born in San Diego, California on July 15, 1976. His birth name was Gabriel J. Iglecias, with his mother deliberately misspelling the last name as a derisive gesture against Gabriel's father, who failed to show up when she went into labor. One of six children, Iglesias and his family lived in various cities in California before settling in Long Beach, where he spent most of his childhood. Influenced by Robin Williams, Eddie Murphy, and Paul Rodriguez, Iglesias became interested in comedy, and he began performing at local clubs while working for a cell phone company during the day. While his family encouraged him not to give up his day job, in 1997 he did just that, determined to work on his comedy full-time. Iglesias' career was slow to take off, and he was evicted from his home and his car was repossessed before he began working enough to support himself. In 2000, Iglesias landed his first break on television when he became part of the cast of the Nickelodeon sketch comedy show All That alongside Amanda Bynes and Nick Cannon.
In 2003, Iglesias landed a half-hour comedy special on Comedy Central, and soon he was in greater demand as a standup comedian. Iglesias also landed work as a voice actor on animated TV series such as The Emperor's New School and Family Guy, and in 2006, he appeared on the comedy competition show Last Comic Standing, where he fared well for two weeks before being disqualified for communicating with his family via cell phone during his set. In 2007, he released Hot and Fluffy, a 60-minute standup special that proved to be his breakout vehicle. The show spawned Iglesias' catch phrase "I'm not fat, I'm fluffy," and it became a major success as a DVD release and as a special on Comedy Central. In 2011, Iglesias released a follow-up, I'm Not Fat...I'm Fluffy, which was another major success, and that same year he became producer and host of a comedy showcase series, Gabriel Iglesias Presents Stand Up Revolution.
In 2012, Iglesias played a supporting role in the hit comedy Magic Mike, and he was soon doing voice acting in animated features such as The Nut Job, Planes, The Book of Life, and Norm of the North. The year 2013 brought another standup special, Aloha Fluffy, and in October 2014, he was part of the cast of the short-lived situation comedy Cristela. In 2014, Iglesias also released a feature film, The Fluffy Movie, which combined standup performances with a look at the performer's private life. In the film, Iglesias revealed that at one point, his weight had peaked at 437 pounds and he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and told he had only two years to live. Through exercise and a healthier diet, Iglesias dropped 118 pounds in two years, and his new lifestyle became part of the focus of the reality show Fluffy Breaks Even, in which the comic and his friends try to balance their love of food with workouts that will burn off the calories. ~ Mark Deming