Netflix hit Mr. Iglesias starring Gabriel ‘Fluffy’ Iglesias is insanely good, and that is due in part to filming in front of a live audience. The series has a fantastic writing team and a stellar cast, and the audience is the final piece that makes everything work so well. I got to chat with Iglesias for an interview with CinemaBlend and he shared why the live audience is so important to him.
The fact that Mr. Iglesias is one of my favorite shows is a pretty big deal, because I’m usually way more into drama. I feel like sad things are pretty universally agreed upon, but when it comes to whether or not something is funny, that’s more opinion based. Everyone has a different sense of humor, so it seems to me like comedy would be harder than drama, but here’s what Gabriel Iglesias said when I asked him:
During the week it's actually more challenging for me because we don't have a live studio audience there and we're still in the creating part where I have the script, but the script is always changing. It's changing every hour... so I'm not as alive, I'm not as excited… I'm more like, ‘Oh, now I gotta memorize this.’ So during the week, I am kind of serious, but it's one of those things where I come to life once the audience is there. That's why it was important for me to do a show that had a live studio audience, because I was given the option: single cam or sitcom style? And as a comic, I need feedback. I need the energy. When we have people there, that lets me know if it's going good or going bad, because there's a couple of times when they didn't laugh at certain things and we're like, ‘yeah, let's do it again. Let's change it’. And that always lets me know that we're doing okay, as long as the people are having fun and it connects. And you can tell when it's a forced laugh versus them just enjoying what the bit is.
Knowing Gabriel Iglesias has his background in doing stand up comedy, it makes sense that he chose sitcom style. I’m glad we can thank the studio audience for getting rid of any jokes we may not have liked. That being said, Iglesias also mentioned a very real rant that ended up on the show, and I was curious how much the cast gets to improvise. Iglesias has a great rule of thumb, and here’s what he told me of going off book:
I do my best to try to stick to it, but as soon as we have a live audience there I always tell them, ‘I will do what you want, but we’re going to do two takes. And whoever gets the bigger laughs, that’s who we’re going to go with.’ I never go completely off the deep end with it. I always make sure that I stay within their circle, but yeah, I improvise a lot on the show. If I'm feeling something, I'll just go with it. And what's great about the other actors is that everybody's really good at improvising. So there's been scenes where it's like, ‘wow, that did not make... I don't even know what script they're reading.’ But it was funny.
It sounds like this cast and crew has a lot of fun together, and that definitely comes across on screen. I wouldn’t say that Mr. Iglesias is line-by-line funny, because the characters have natural conversations and sometimes the topics aren’t funny, but for sure scene-by-scene. This is a set I would love to visit.
Expanding upon the live audience aspect, Gabriel Iglesias shared that where he draws energy from that, for others it can be nerve-racking. Imagine getting in front of people for anything, even if your lines are pre-written, and not getting the desired reaction. That has to be stressful. But of course, having fun with it is the key. Iglesias said:
We had a comedian, Jo Coy, on the show as a guest. And we had so much fun because he was so nervous. He was like, ‘Gabe, I don't want to mess this up.’ I said, ‘Dude, just be yourself, have fun. You have no pressure. You're just here for the day. Just hang out, you got an audience, let's have fun.’ And we wound up messing around, like just playing, literally playing. And it was about 30 minutes of content that was created from that, that they wound up using for all kinds of other things that, you know, you could find it online. It was a lot of fun just playing around.