Ken Jeong joins a new community of comedy this week with his ABC series “Dr. Ken,” while Gabriel Iglesias hits the road with his own cable series, “Fluffy Breaks Even.”
‘Fluffy Breaks Even’
Gabriel Iglesias, a familiar face to Fresno comedy fans, has always freestyled when it comes to his concert performances. He’s the kind of guy who likes the freedom to go where the comedy takes him.
That makes his new cable series on Fuse a perfect fit.
“There’s a lot of reality television on, but how much reality is in those shows? What we are doing is very organic. We didn’t have to cast it. It takes place in the tour bus that’s our regular environment. All we did was add the cameras,” Iglesias says.
Joining Iglesias on the tour bus are fellow comedians Martin Moreno and Rick Gutierrez. The series follows the trio as they look for outlandish places to eat and to work out while on the road. The first stop is in Las Vegas, where one of the comedians takes a terrible beating.
Iglesias wouldn’t have done the series if it had been only about him. He’s quick on his feet when it comes to comedy, but a solo series would have been too much pressure.
Even with his comedy buddies, it was difficult to get comfortable with the cameras. He’s been in front of cameras for TV comedy specials and even for feature film appearances such as “Magic Mike.” Nothing was similar to the constant scrutiny for the TV series.
“We finally just started talking to the cameramen,” he says. “No one has ever done that.”
Six episodes of “Fluffy Breaks Even” have been filmed and if the ratings are strong enough, another six will follow. While waiting to see what happens, Iglesias continues on tour. He stops at The Big Fresno Fair on Oct. 10.
Iglesias has built up a love for Fresno over the years. He’s gone from playing small venues to major theaters here. His last visit was at last year’s fair.
“There will be at least a new half-hour of material,” Iglesias says. “But I always close the show with some classic material.”
It’s been a tradition at a lot of his shows for fans to bring him pies. Since he’s watching his weight a little more, Iglesias suggests beef jerky instead of sweets.
Life has come full circle for Ken Jeong. He left a career in medicine to get into acting and now dons the white coat again as a doctor in a new ABC comedy.
Dr. Ken is a good doctor. He just has a little problem with his bedside manner.
“A lot of people ask me, ‘Is this workplace? Is this family comedy?’ And I view this as an ensemble show with the specificity based on my life being a doctor in an HMO,” Jeong says.
I think what will carry the show and will be the key ingredient to its success is the writing is led by Mike Sikowitz, the show runner.
The team surrounding Jeong includes Suzy Nakamura, Tisha Campbell-Martin, Dave Foley, Jonathan Slavin, Albert Tsai and Krista Marie Yu.
Focusing less on the patients and more on home and office relationships will help Jeong avoid some of the clichés.
“You border on gimmicky if you are the mean doctor or the jokey doctor,” Jeong says. “There’s a bit of it in there but I’m trying to get them out of the scripts because that’s not the heart of the show.”
Jeong calls starring in his own series the apex of his acting career. He didn’t dislike medicine when he changed careers, but he was looking to open a new chapter in his life. The attention he’s earned from “The Hangover” to “Community” has made the decision enjoyable.
Even when he was in med school, Jeong was careful to keep comedy and medicine separate. If anything, Jeong was more serious with patients to make sure none of the comedy crossed over.
Jeong hasn’t practiced in some time, but he’s been working as a healer – that is, if laughter really is the best medicine.
That’s not a medical philosophy that Jeong believes.
“Laughter doesn’t hurt, but medicine is the best medicine,” Jeong says. “I never subscribe to the Patch Adams approach.”
Fluffy Breaks Even
- 10 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1, Fuse
- 8:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2