When a stand-up comedian like Gabriel ‘Fluffy’ Iglesias does scripted television, it’s to be expected that a decent amount of improv would happen on set because he’s so good at telling jokes and reading the room. His Netflix show, Mr. Iglesias, while absolutely hilarious, has also become a platform for addressing real issues like alcohol abuse and recovery, school funding, race relations and more. One of these issues caused Mr. Iglesias to butt heads with a student, and Gabriel Iglesias shared in an interview with CinemaBlend that the rant his character does in the scene was very real.
It’s established early in the show that Marisol Fuentes (played by Cree Cicchino, and the girl is talented to say the least) is Mr. Iglesias’ favorite student. She’s the most intelligent, the most down to earth, and she and Mr. Iglesias are both Mexican American, but that doesn’t mean they always get along. In Part 2 of the series, Marisol gets upset about a taco truck, citing cultural appropriation, and Mr. Iglesias doesn’t see it that way. This leads to a heated discussion about the word Latinx, and here’s what Gabriel Iglesias shared about filming the scene:
It is challenging sometimes to continue evolving. It's always challenging, and to be doing it live on a show while things are happening... my rant that I did on the show was from a real place, no one had to write the rant for me. I actually just vented. And it came out the way that it did and it played well. But yeah...things are always changing and you can either go with the flow or you're going to find yourself in a really awkward situation. I always want to try to challenge myself and I always want to grow, but sometimes I'm not growing as fast as I'd like to.
We’re living in unprecedented times. On the one hand, it feels like people are always offended, and on the other it’s refreshing to see people commit to learning about things they may not have previously and growing in ways they didn’t think possible. Mr. Iglesias is a great example of this, because it displays two people of the same culture having contrasting opinions on a cultural topic and working to understand each other. We’ve seen different cultures be confused by each other and try to learn, but when the characters are of the same culture it’s almost expected that they share opinions on things. Working outside of this expectation is part of what makes Mr. Iglesias so excellent.
Mr. Iglesias is a diverse show in race, age, socio-economics and more, so a wide range of audience members will be able to find a character to relate to. That being said, the character you relate to most may not be the one that you think. Just because someone looks like you or is similar in age to you doesn’t mean you’ll agree, and vice versa. Gabriel Iglesias expanded upon his feelings on the Latinx term, citing a generational gap.
I've had that situation happen in real life, not necessarily with friends, but friends’ kids. I think it's just, it's a generational thing where, you know, people are always changing and some people are not always changing and some people are changing at a slower pace. And I feel like I'm the one that's in the middle, where again, I have to be educated sometimes on certain things, because I don't always agree with some of the stuff that we're talking about. There was an episode where we were discussing the whole term of Latinx, and Latinx is a very new term for me, whereas I finally got used to the word Latino. We were talking about how originally it was ‘other.’ I was Caucasian on my birth certificate, which I'm clearly not, but at the time, I accepted it, then I was Chicano. I was Mexican American. I was Mexican, Latino, Hispanic, and I'm finally where we had one and now it's changed again. And so, you know, there was pushback from me, I'm like I said, I'm in my forties now. And now I'm that guy that does push back because I've been so set in my ways for so long.
For those unfamiliar (and I do not belong to the community so I’m no expert), here’s a rundown of the word in question. The rule of thumb has been that for words with masculine and feminine forms (such as Latino and Latina), the masculine is used when referring to a group of males, or both males and females (Latinos) and the feminine is used when referring to groups of females (Latinas). Some groups viewed this as problematic, so Latinx has been more recently used as a gender neutral term referring to people of Latin American descent. Check out this video for a fun yet informative explanation of this and other terms.
As Gabriel Iglesias said, change can be hard to embrace and lots of us are set in our ways. He’s learning a lot by working with a group of talented writers and young actors, just like his viewers are learning a lot from watching his show. At the end of the day, being flexible and open to change is all we can ask, and Iglesias is certainly showing us how to do that.