By Jasen T. Davis
Pablo Francisco’s comedy is an ever-evolving cavalcade of celebrity impressions, incisive observations and absurd juxtapositions that has entertained incredible amounts of people all over the planet. Francisco’s recent tour across Europe resulted in sold out shows from the famous Troxy in London to Amsterdam’s legendary Milky Way. Before that the star toured Australia and performed at the South African Comedy Festival. While some comics are going places, Francisco has already been there.
In spite of his talent, genius and continuing fame and fortune, the comedian known as Pablo Francisco still stays humble. “This is just a hobby that became a career,” he says. “Performing over in Europe is just like performing everywhere else, it’s just that they speak several languages.” More than a decade after making his mark with pitch-perfect renditions of Al Pacino, Arnold Schwarzenegger and even Danny Glover, Francisco admits his success still surprises him. “I still feel like I’m just some YouTube karaoke star that got famous.”
Despite all the success, Francisco admits that for a stand-up comic the fear of going up on stage alone with nothing but a mic stand to protect you from a mob of screaming fans demanding nothing but something to laugh at never goes away. “The fear is a good thing. It’s an adrenaline rush,” he says. “I’ve realized that at this point it is always going to feel like I’m going up for the first time, except now I’m eager to go up on stage. I can’t wait to show the audience something new I’ve been working on to impress them.”
Francisco made a name for himself early on by doing pitch-perfect impersonations of famous stars and celebrities. Part of his success is the fact that when someone big does something stupid, he’s there to capitalize because of his ability to sound like the target, whereas other comics are stuck with observational humor. “Believe me; Arnold Schwarzenegger knows how to stay in the news, so I have to keep doing a lot of those voices,” Francisco says.
“Like Justin Bieber. He’s marinating himself like he’s some sort of stud. I love him, he’s a good kid, but when you put something as obviously funny as that in my face I have to make fun of you,” he says. Any good stand-up comic will tell you that the joke usually isn’t funny unless there is a body lying on the floor because it was a target. “I’m a millionaire too, but I’ll make fun of you whether you are Angelina Jolie or Jon Bon Jovi,” he says, his voice morphing into an impression of the rock singer. “It doesn’t matter if you make it or not,” he sings.
Francisco is a veteran of television, including his Comedy Central specials They Put It Out There, Bits and Pieces, and Ouch, and has also performed on Mind of Mencia, Mad TV and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, but chances are that very soon he’s going to be the star of his own television show. “I’ve been working on a show with Steve Kramer. It’s a cartoon show. We even met with the producers of The Family Guy.” For a natural impersonator like Francisco, an animated series that’s as funny as it is controversial would be the logical choice.
Like any comedian, Francisco has thousands of Twitter followers and stays current on Facebook and YouTube. “I make sure there is always some good advice to take home from it. Like, if you want to be a popular at a bar, just pretend to be a little gay,” he says. “Joe Rogan is like that, his podcasts have good information.”
I just don’t understand how some people get way too personal with their own tweets. “There are some people who will follow anyone, like Gary Busey, he says, slipping into another dead-on impersonation. “Hi everyone, here’s a picture of a sandwich. I’m going to eat it. Now I’m eating French Fries,” he says. “It’s like thousands of people across America are going out on a date with him.”
Pablo Francisco at the Ontario Improv, 4555 Mills Cir., Ontario, (909) 484-5411; ontario.improv.com. Thurs, Dec. 26-Sun, Dec. 29. Show times and ticket prices vary.