Gabriel Iglesias, known to stand-up comedy fans as Fluffy, says he might only have one chance to make a TV show so he had to do it right. His debut series Mr. Iglesias, premiering June 21 on Netflix, and EW has the exclusive trailer above for the show, which tells the story of a high school teacher balancing his personal life while struggling to keep his gifted students in good standing at his alma mater.
Iglesias, who plays the title character, goes up against Carlos (The Office alum Oscar Nunez), a bully assistant principal set on getting rid of students who are challenged for a variety of reasons. Carlos may not care about their future, but Mr. Iglesias fights for them — even if it means he has to spend his summer doing so.
“There’s a story we’re exploring with one of the students having attendance issues because she has to work to help her family,” Iglesias explains to EW. “It was important to me that the show be funny but also have substance. My producer Kevin Hench told me in the beginning, ‘I really want this show to have corazon’ (Spanish for ‘heart’). We didn’t want this to be a wacky show, but for it to also have feelings.”
When assembling his team of costars, Iglesias wanted to find the perfect combination of talent and professionalism. Aside from Nunez, the 10-episode series costars Jacob Vargas, Sherri Shepherd, Maggie Geha, and Richard Gant.
“This is the first time I star on a show and I never assumed that I could run this whole show on my own,” he says. “While some people may worry about other talent outshining them, I wanted the funniest and most professional people around me. At the end of the day, they make me look better. The cast is full of really talented actors that have been on so many great shows. I feel so lucky that I was able to work with them. And as the season progresses, each character will have their own episode where audiences will you’ll learn more about their backstories. This is not a show about a high school, there’s a whole life that happens outside of there.”
Iglesias admits that while comedy is the main focus, things will get a little personal for his character.
“Everyone is going through something, including me. My character has a lot of emotional and personal baggage that he’s working through. Some of it was very personal to me and some of it was Hollywood. But know that I put a lot of things out there. I think people will be surprised about how far we go. Blame my producer for ‘wanting corazon,'” he says, laughing. “I might not get another crack at this and I want to make sure that I’m putting everything I have into this and having fun while doing it.”
The end of the premiere episode includes a message from Iglesias to the person who inspired the series: “This show is dedicated to my high school speech teacher, June Garner. Thank you for believing in me when I didn’t want to believe in myself.”
He says about his teacher, “I didn’t know if my teacher was still alive or not when I started this journey with the show. I tried tracking her down for a while but I had no luck. But one of my associates here found her and she’s very much alive and she’s coming to my premiere. This is so special for me because she was very influential in my life. It’s very poetic that I made this show and just before the premiere, we found her and I can really show her what she meant to me.”
Watch the exclusive trailer for the series, above. Mr. Iglesias debuts Friday, June 21 on Netflix.