Whether making fun of his own Latin culture or acting out movie trailers with the voice of famed movie announcer Don LaFontaine, stand-up vet Pablo Francisco brings the lolz in his high-energy, low-brow performance. Think: a Chilean combination of Dane Cook and Daniel Tosh. Plus, he’s cool enough to chat for a Q&A.
FRANCISCO: This is Pablo, how are you? Thanks for calling, bro.
CL: I’m great, how’s the road treating you, man?
The road’s treating me good, we’re just, you know, having fun with it. There’s a comedy club in every city now so it’s a beautiful thing. We’re just getting ready to go down to Tampa, I believe, right? Tampa, Florida or is it Pittsburgh? I think it’s Tampa, it’s Tampa, right?
Absolutely, Tampa, [voice of famed movie announcer Dan LaFontaine] Ybor, Ybor City. It’s like meeting the Bundy’s at Dynasty’s house at the Jefferson’s. I guess, I don’t know, something like that.
What's your favorite city to headline?
Uh, Miami. I would say Miami because for some reason, the chances of people not getting your stuff there … you can go from juvenile material all the way to like Latin or other cultures, not that other people don’t get it, it’s just like there it’s so easy to get through the shows and stuff, you do like an hour and a half shows. ... You know why I really do it? It’s for the women, ok? To get laid.
Yeah, I was waiting for that. I knew we’d get there eventually.
Yeah, I would say Miami. The weather’s good, there’s always a positive vibe there.
You’ll be doing Fort Lauderdale later this year, but what are you looking forward to out of Europe in the next few months?
You know what, this is a challenge because they bring me there a lot [and] they want to see new stuff. The new stuff I’ll do is good, it’s just that sometimes I like to spend a lot of time on one topic and just try to figure it out, to get the kinks out. So I’m just looking forward to that. I’m looking forward to making fun of Storage Wars and all these stupid, new shows. They’ve got them up there, they have that up there, they’ve got all those shows, so I’m looking forward to making fun of American shows in Scandinavia.
How often do you turn over material?
When I get tired of it. Some people like to see it again, you know? But then again, I don’t do it the same way again because the vibe’s different. It’s choreographed. I think every topic should be … some should be untouched, some jokes you shouldn’t touch, but I just do the jokes that make me … that catch my attention. There’s a lot of humping jokes in there. I retire a joke, maybe eight months.
Are there any popular bits you get tired of but feel compelled to keep doing?
No, so far, so good. Everything’s good so far.
Who are the all-time best or, at least, your all-time favorites in stand-up, and what gives them that distinction?
Steve Martin, Benny Hill… Then Richard Pryor; everyone says Richard Pryor. Richard Pryor because he’s super honest and he’s an adult that acts like a child. … But now, Dane Cook would be one, Chelsea Handler. Dane Cook, again, is just filling up the place. He’s using the Internet, using everything he can to fill those seats up and make a million and a half a show. It blows me away, it’s amazing. The technology, and he’s funny too. All his shows are really good … I would say Carlos Mencia. Very funny comedian and he can talk about most topics and do three-hour shows. I would say those guys. The longevity of Carlos Mencia’s act is kind of inspiring.
Is there anyone who just needs to shut up and find a job at Office Depot?
[Laughs] Um, let’s see here. I would say, maybe… Shit, Office Depot. You know what, man, I would say Patrice O’Neal; I can’t say that, he died. I would say… I can’t… you know what, I don’t know their names, but they’re like… How about this? How about improvisational “I graduated from comedy school” comics?
You're well known for your impressions; as our little private joke, since this will be in print and no one will know if it’s actually any good, give me a quick one, dealer's choice.
What’d you say? Dealer’s choice? What do I do?
Just whatever impression you want to give.
Okay, an impression I want to give or you want me to come up with a joke, right?
Okay, here’s a joke. One I made of my own? Okay. How do Latinos take a family portrait? They jump in the back of a pickup truck, they run a red light, it takes a picture. I love watching adult movies, you know why? Because they always have a happy ending.
I've seen YouTube clips of Bradley Cooper absolutely nailing some impressions on talk shows; clearly he's not a stand-up, but are there any other comics or performers of any kind you think have a knack for it?
Yeah, man, Frank Caliendo, of course, is the king. I would say, after I hung out with him for the day, I was like, “Oh my god, man, this guy really hits them all.” Really good, like, sickly good to the point where like, jeez, I don’t know if I’m jealous of you or holy shit … Jonathan Kite, he’s one. He’s great. He’s on a TV show, two girls in a rented apartment on CBS or something like that.
2 Broke Girls?
A guy named Steve Kramer, he’s hilarious too. He’s a guy who’s on TV shows, stevekramerentertainment.com. Check him out, he’s excellent.
Turning it around, who would you like to see play the role of Pablo Francisco if the film industry, for some reason, decided that your bio-pic had to be made?
[Dan LaFontaine movie announcer voice] Why not Mark Wahlberg? That’s right. He plays everybody, he just plays himself. [PERFECT Wahlberg impression] Hey, come on. Ya know. Hey, c’mon man. He’s out of breath all the time. Come on! Who would play me? I would say Chaz Bono. ‘Cause, you know, I do a lesbian dick part in my act, it’ll be challenging. Mr. or Mrs. Chaz Bono, play Pablo.
I love guys like the Bill Hicks and George Carlin, who I think is not only one of the greatest comics of all time but also one of the great thinkers of the 20th century. Is there anyone left that you think can make the world laugh and also wonder at the same time?
You know, I totally get your vibe with that one. [okay-ish Carlin voice] George Carlin; why do they call it a can when it can’t do anything? It just sits there. You’ve got to make up your own George Carlin joke if you do George Carlin. I would say… think… You know, Joe Rogan always has it, sometimes. Bill Hicks and George Carlin, they make you think through the whole thing. I would say… God, Richard Jeni passed away. I want to say, Russell Brand, not on stage, how about that? Russell Brand can make you think when he’s not on stage. I would say he’s very intelligent when it comes down to it… give me some hints. I would say, maybe… not Louis C.K. No, you know what, I don’t think. You don’t have anything in mind, maybe mentally jumpstart my mind?
You had mentioned Joe Rogan but I can’t afford that much pot, to try to think like he does.
[Laughs] Yeah, roll your joints in potassium papers and bananas. Okay, a little bit of Joe, a little bit of Carlos Mencia—he’ll make you think. Carlos definitely does. I toured with him for three years. I would say Carlos Mencia is the one. You throw out a topic, he’ll make you think, he’ll get you angry.
For a Q&A with a comic, I’ve got to say, I’m asking way too many thoughtful questions; let’s end it with something cheap and dirty. Go ahead, fire when ready, no sex pun intended.
Okay, something cheap and dirty? Danny Glover and Joan Rivers, that’s a vocal one. Just go to the show and yell it out, you know, request it. That’s an audio joke daily double, I guess. Let’s see, dirty and crazy? Okay. I can’t do Michael J. Fox, it’s just bad; everyone’s going to hate me for that one. How about, um… Oh god, I can’t do that one… Owen Wilson’s nose looks like a dick so when he’s eating pussy he can talk to you at the same time… Arnold Schwarzenegger, you know, in Brokeback Mountain. [Ahnold voice]. Ah! Ah! Just think of his pain. Ai! Ai! Let’s see here. Okay, Gary Busey talking dirty, doing a role play. [Awesome Busey voice] All right, you work at Dairy Queen and you’re lactose intolerant. I come over for a Blizzard and I gotta fix the machine. Hey, let’s go. Oh, here you go, here you go, I just came up with this the other day, it’s Randy Travis. [Country drawl] You know the other day, I just got married and divorced on the same night. Boy, I just can’t believe it, man. Doesn’t it suck when your wife works at the whorehouse?
All right, man, thanks for taking some time to talk to me, I look forward to seeing you come to Tampa.
Enjoy the road, brother.
I will, man, and visit pablofrancisco.com and we’ll see you at the show.
Pablo Francisco headlines the Improv in Ybor on Thu., Aug. 15, 8 p.m., Fri., Aug. 16, 8 and 10:30 p.m., Sat., Aug. 17, 7:30 & 10 p.m. and Sun., Aug. 18, 7 p.m. $20 in advance; some shows are 21 and older only; improvtampa.com, 813-864-4000.