Internationally celebrated comedian Pablo Francisco has been entertaining audiences since he was a high school student. With 20 years of comedic success under his belt, Francisco’s star just keeps rising. Francisco has three Comedy Central specials out, and he’s currently working on an hourlong special for Jennifer Lopez’s new Latino-centric station, NUVOtv.
Known for his use of impressions and sound effects on stage, watching Francisco perform has the multifaceted feel of a movie. He brings every character in his jokes to life seamlessly and keeps his audience engrossed in the world he has created.
For example, Francisco has a joke about the absurdity of celebrity DJs. In it, he plays the DJ, his fans, an announcer and he provides the sound effects of the music all while toggling back and forth as himself.
Francisco has elevated his comedy with his multiple dimensions. He was innately drawn to doing impressions and got an early start.
“I started off doing it as a kid, using toys as characters, and then using it to get what I needed in comedy,” he shares.
Francisco grew up in a home where his parents would regularly watch Johnny Carson host “The Tonight Show.” Inspired by the craft and wanting to improve upon the the comedy he would watch every night, Francisco started off participating in his school’s talent shows and eventually performed at amateur nights at local comedy clubs.
By the age of 21, Francisco was a professional comedian earning a living doing what he loved. He expanded his career in 1996 when he joined “MADtv” as a featured player through 1997. His first Comedy Central special aired in 2000 as part of the “Comedy Central Presents” series. His subsequent specials “Bit and Pieces,” “Ouch!” and “They Put it Out There” went on to cement his status as a comedy superstar.
Every comic has a joke-writing system that’s unique to their sensibilities and persona. The process can range from hours of painstakingly scanning the news and various blogs for inspiration or simply having an idea borne out of nowhere. Francisco’s jokes are typically concepts that get him thinking a little bit, which he then fleshes out into jokes.
When asked if he uses any recording devices or special tools to capture his ideas when inspiration strikes, he replies, “All you need is a few napkins in your back pocket and a pen.”
Francisco uses his home as an open-mic environment to form his jokes. He practices his jokes in his living room before moving on to his kitchen and shower as a last stop before taking them to audiences.
With social media as powerful as it is these days, most comedians use it as a tool to stay relevant with constant tweets, Vine videos and Instagram entries. Having achieved success prior to the rise of social media, Francisco uses a minimalist approach, tweeting only twice a week and saving his jokes for his shows and videos.
When prodded about his reticence, his explanation is perfectly in line with his clever persona.
“You don’t want to get to a movie theater before it opens. You want to get there just when it starts,” he responds.
Francisco is a true comedian in his simplistic approach.
“In doing standup comedy I get to joke around and get paid for it. It’s beautiful.”
Pablo Francisco performs Aug. 21-24 at the American Comedy Company in San Diego and Oct. 16-19 at Ontario Improv. For more information, visit pablofrancisco.com.