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Gabriel Iglesias on returning to comedy and that bloody 'Narcos' cameo

The "Fluffy" comic performs in Medford this weekend.
Gabriel Iglesias
Gabriel Iglesias performs at the Chevalier Theatre this weekend. Photo by Getty Images

Two decades of intense, cross-country touring finally caught up with Gabriel Iglesias in 2017.

Last spring, the beloved comedy superstar revealed in an Instagram post that he would be taking a major break from the road, citing "serious health and emotional issues." While he continued to work on other projects, Iglesias didn't feel like he could tackle a major tour due to battles with drinking and depression, as well as wanting to spend more time with his family.

But after a nearly year-long hiatus, "Fluffy" is back and better than ever with his new "One Show Fits All" world tour. Ahead of his performances in Medford this weekend, we caught up with Iglesias to talk about his recent break from the stage, his bloody cameo on Netflix's "Narcos" and more.

Last year was pretty rough for you. Now that you're back on the road, are you approaching touring any differently?

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If you don’t take a break, you don’t stop and smell the roses, man, you’re going to miss a lot. Unfortunately, I missed a lot and I was trying to make up for certain things by numbing myself and that wasn’t the best thing to do. So the new approach, basically you know, I'm a sober dude. I’ve managed to make a schedule that I’m working, but I have time for myself, which is something that I didn’t really set aside when I first started doing this.

You never expect to get as big as this career has gotten. There was no plan for it. Just go go go while you can, and you keep thinking this is going to go away, it's going to slow down, and it doesn’t slow down and it's not going away. It's getting bigger and bigger and there’s more work, and you just don’t want to take it for granted, you want to take on all of it. You don’t want to miss an opportunity. Unfortunately, it took its toll. Now its like, OK, we're back on tour, it’s a different approach, yeah the guys not drinking, yeah the guy's setting aside time for himself. I think that’s the biggest thing, is that you know, and I think everyone needed that, not only myself. I think everyone in my crew definitely needed to take that extra break.

Did the hiatus from touring affect your stand-up material at all?

As far as what I do on stage, man, if there’s anything I know how to do it’s that. Everything else I was messing up at. The show is the show. You know I’ll still run the clock. I’m not going to go up there making a bunch of "E! True Hollywood Story," "and then this happened." Nah man, I still got a lot of great stories, a lot of great memories. It’s not going to be a show of reflection on you know how interesting the year 2017 was. There’s been a lot of things that’ve happened over the last 3-4 years, especially since the last special. Believe me, it’s still a happy, feel good show. It is not changing by any means.

Fans seemed to really enjoy your bloody cameo on Netflix's "Narcos" last year. How'd that come about?

"Narcos" was a request that I had with Netflix. I basically said I’m a big fan of the show, I would love to be on the show for a quick cameo. Originally, I wanted to get shot out by Pablo Escobar, and unfortunately I missed that season. When season three rolled around, I said I just want to get killed by whoever the head drug lord is. When they said OK, I thought I was going to go to Columbia, and as it turns out, they sent me to New York. That was the first time I’ve ever been unhappy to go to New York. I wanted to go on location, I'm a big fan. I wanted to go see Medellin and be like, this was Escobar’s backyard, you know what I mean?

To do an episode was super cool and the fact that I made it to the trailer, it was the greatest cameo I’ve ever had period because I’ve gotten so much mileage off of it. When the trailer ran, basically my entire scene was in the trailer. It was in the first 10 seconds of the new "Nacros" trailer, so the traction from that was insane. Netflix even had me record a funeral for this character that was on screen for such short of a time, he didn’t even have a name. He was just like "Dominican gangster." So I got to record like a funeral, like a parody, silly video.

What other Netflix show would you want to cameo on? How about "Stranger Things?"

That’d be really, really awesome! You know what the pressure of doing a cameo is? There’s none. There’s literally no pressure. I’m getting ready to record a cameo for the show "Modern Family." That’s a show that I’ve been following for a long time, so to be asked to participate in an episode, that for me, is pretty awesome. I get to work alongside everybody and I’m really jazzed.

Any other fun projects for 2018?

We’re always working towards new specials and there’s talks of doing actual TV shows. I’ve got a couple film projects in the works right now. There’s one movie that’s coming out, it's called "Show Dogs." I play a dog named Mr. Sprinkles and he’s a pug. He looks like the pug from "Men in Black." That movie stars Will Arnett, and Ludacris is one of the dogs.  I get to play alongside Ludacris and the whole time in my head all I’m hearing is "Luda!"

If you go:

Feb. 9-11, Chevalier Theatre, 30 Forest St., Medford, $43+, chevaliertheatre.com