Gabriel Iglesias has developed a sort of contract with his fans.
They let him do 45 minutes of new material each show, just to work out the kinks and make sure the jokes land, and then he gives them all the old jokes they want.
“There are people who want to hear those old bits,” says Iglesis, on the phone from his home of Long Beach, talking in advance of a performance Friday night at The Big Fresno Fair.
“I would have people screaming out old jokes right at the beginning,” he says.
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His credibility with his fans (14 million of them on Facebook) is important. So, yes, he tells the old jokes because it’s what they want and he’ll also pose for pictures anytime he’s asked.
He does it without feeling like he’s doing anyone a favor.
“I’m an entertainer. That’s what I signed up for. That’s my role,” he says.
On the days he doesn’t feel up to the role, he just stays home or sticks to the drive-thus.
Iglesias does get recognized. He is the rare comedian who has sold out Madison Square Garden and the Staples Center and (no less impressively) Fresno’s Paul Paul Theater the past five year’s he’s been at The Big Fresno Fair. The Hollywood Reporter put him on its Top 40 Comedy Players of 2018 issue (under the category “arena filler”) and Netflix is set to release two of his comedy specials, along with 10 episodes of a scripted series called “Mr. Iglesias.”
He plays a public high school teacher.
“Netflix has revolutionized everything,” Iglesias says. The subscription service has a massive global reach, he says, which means he can book arena shows in a place like Oslo, Norway and play to 7,000 people.
“When a special goes up on Netflix, its literally a world premiere.”
- 7 p.m. Friday
- Paul Paul Theater at The Big Fresno Fair
- 559-456-9685, www.fresnofair.com
Six other noteworthy events happening this week:
- Ghost Tours 7 p.m. Thursday to Sunday, downtown Hanford. $12-$15. 559-584-1367, www.hanfordcarnegiemuseum.org
- Break the Taboo 7 p.m. Saturday. Tower Theatre, 815 E. OIive Ave. $20. 559-485-9050, towertheatrefresno.com
- Kid Ink 10 p.m. Saturday. Club Imperio, 3950 N. Cedar Ave. $20 + fees. www.eventbrite.com
- Fall Farm to Table Dinner 5 p.m. Sunday. Pollasky Ave., Clovis. $150. 559-298-5774, www.eventbrite.com
- Danny Gokey 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. Saroyan Theatre, 700 M St. $25-$75. 800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com
- Drake Bell 7 p.m. Tuesday. Strummer’s, 815 E. Fern Ave. $15, all ages. 559-485-5356, www.strummersclub.com