On stage, Pablo Francisco seems anything but tired. Whether he’s acting out the trailer for the faux-Arnold Schwarzenegger action thriller Little Tortilla Boy, pretending to sing his heart out at a gay karaoke bar or letting the audience know what movie voice-over legend Don LaFontaine is like in bed (“Cumming to a theater near you!”), one thing always stays the same: his energy.
Moments after headlining the SEE comedy show Monday night, however, Francisco looks beat. Slouching in a chair, his hair soaking wet and his voice hoarse, the 34-year-old comedian is clearly worn out from giving his all for the university crowd. In an interview with The Diamondback, Francisco discussed everything from how losing his job at Domino’s launched his career in comedy to persevering through Monday’s show despite microphone problems and his less-than-perfect health.
THE DIAMONDBACK: When performing in front of a college audience like this one, how, if at all, do you adjust your performance?
Pablo Francisco: I couldn’t cuss as much because of that f—ing sound guy and the sound going out … But I would just say I don’t talk about politics too much with a college crowd.
DBK: Chris DeCaro opened for you after winning the student comedy competition. What did you think of his performance?
Francisco: I think Chris had a great performance. I think Chris got in a lot of campus jokes, which is good. If he wanted to, he just needs to move around a little more on stage … The crowd loved him, and I would say just work on a good 15 minutes.
DBK: When you’re feeling a bit sick like you are tonight, do you find that you have to work a little harder to reach that wide range of vocal work?
Francisco: The thing is, the mic went out on a few parts where I was focusing on that one thing, so I had to come up with more “the mic failed” jokes. But the hardest voice to do is my [own] voice. The rest like, [impersonating LaFontaine] “Are you ready?” – I could just do that.
DBK: When would you say you really started toward a career in comedy?
Francisco: I got fired from Domino’s pizza, and I owed about $400 on my car, and I had these neighbors who told me to go to a comedy club for amateur night … I saw friends of mine there doing some comedy and they said, “Hey, you should give it a shot.” And I go, “Well, yeah.” So I talked to folks there and they said, “Come in on Tuesday.” So I went in on a Tuesday, and it was already lined up and they had enough people in there, but I watched anyway … and when I did that the owner called out to me real quick and started giving me confidence.
DBK: You’re well-known for your impressions, so what sort of process do you go through to prepare those?
Francisco: Sometimes they come in five minutes, sometimes they come in 10 minutes. It starts off with a few words, like [as LaFontaine] “Coming this summer.” Of course I can always do this voice; I just have the vocal chords.
DBK: I remember seeing you perform alongside LaFontaine on Frank TV, so what was it like actually meeting him, and what did he think of your impression?
Francisco: He called my house after seeing me on [The Tonight Show with Jay Leno] and was like, “Pablo, I saw you on TV, and you know how good it feels when someone is doing you? We should meet up some time.” So about two years went by, and I didn’t talk to him. I went to Frank TV and he was there and … he goes, “Why don’t you come to my house?” So I went to his house for about three hours, and he showed me the whole studio. We went down there, and he did, “On the next 24 with Kiefer Sutherland.”
DBK: Is there anything in your career that you still hope to accomplish that you haven’t yet?
Francisco: I would say, since the Internet came out, I have everything I really need. I wanted a TV show at first, but right now I’m working on a cartoon with Disney – just voice-over work and stuff like that – so I’ll just do that for now. But writing a cartoon would be good. A cartoon would be nice.
For more information on comedian Pablo Francisco, visit www.pablofrancisco.com.