McGinnis: Fast-paced comic Pablo Francisco to appear at Fat Fish BlueWritten by Jeff McGinnis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
I asked Pablo Francisco what it’s like to appear in a new city for the first time, as he will when he performs at the Funny Bone at Fat Fish Blue in Levis Commons on March 30 through April 1.
“It’s always exciting, either way,” Francisco said in an interview with Toledo Free Press Star. “Because the comedy that I do, the comedy, the act that I do, it’s basically what people put out there. It’s things on the Internet, things on television and stuff. So in the beginning stages, it’s just fun to know that you got invited to the club or the concert hall or the university, just to goof off.
“It’s been a challenge. When everyone goes down there to a comedy club, to see a comedian, man, it doesn’t become an event or so. It becomes like a — it’s like we all bond. We join the bond together and we just get crazy.
“So it’s exciting to come to a new city, actually. Because, you know, you got different kind of malls, like you got some different kind of shops, and I’m pretty sure everybody’s on the same page. I’m pretty sure everybody’s on the same page, so it’s gonna be a good thing.”
Total duration of answer: 55 seconds. As anyone familiar with Francisco’s energetic, rapid-fire comedy can tell, it’s not really an act. A conversation with the comedian quickly becomes an effort to keep up, as Francisco’s mind and mouth move on fast-forward. Fifteen minutes of talk could easily fill 10 columns of this size.
It’s a demeanor that has served Francisco well since his early days in comedy, in addition to his ability to augment his stories with hilariously dead-on impressions and sound effects. It makes his act feel like a unique combination of Rich Little, Michael Winslow and a slightly calmer John “Motor Mouth” Moschitta.
But Francisco’s approach to performance began on a much smaller stage.
“Doing oral reports and stuff like that, when you had to get in front of your teachers and stuff like that. It was simpler for me to just talk about my paper instead of reading it out loud. I’d just talk about it, and to draw a better picture, I would basically do the impersonations and some of the sound effects,” he said.
It’s an act that Francisco has off the stage, as well.
“Basically, the sound effects and some of the impersonations have sold a lot of my ideas to some of the companies out there — NFL Films, I wrote like 15 episodes for them. And I wasn’t too much of a football fan, but when I went in there, I went, ‘OK, this is how it goes, this is how the first episode’s gonna be.’ They’re like, ‘Oh, yeah, we got it!’ So, it took some sound effects and some impersonations to get that going.”
But it’s his ability to use those talents in stand-up that gives Francisco the most joy.
“It’s a feeling of pure pleasure. Because the thing is, we all go through the same things in life,” he said. “The news brings up all the typical things — all the deaths, all the political, vicious circle stuff — basically, there’s never good things. Basically it’s people sitting talking about bad things.
“So, what I basically do, and other comedians, is we talk about people’s relationships, what goes on in relationships, what commercial we saw today, what stupid thing we saw on the Internet. … So, the news talks about the bad-type stuff, and we talk about
the stupid stuff.”
He’s been talking about stupid stuff in front of more people than ever — not only on television through a stint on “MADtv” and appearances on Comedy Central, but also on the Internet via YouTube and other streaming video services.
“It’s an amazing thing. I was known in Scandinavia! Every single city knows me when I go there. But the thing is, you have to be really prepared,” he said. “When YouTube just came out, the people all saw my show. OK, I go into my old stuff, try and come up with some funny stuff that I always wanted to work on, that I was supposed to work on. So, yeah, it made me work harder, most definitely.”
In the end, though comedy is still his first love, he also has his eyes on a bigger prize.
“I’ll try to jump into a movie or two — I’d love to do a movie,” he said.
Email Toledo Free Press Star Pop Culture Editor Jeff McGinnis at PopGoesJeff@gmail.com.