Stand-Up Sit-Down: Pablo Francisco

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Christina Shams
    Pablo Francisco is performing this weekend at the Arlington Improv.

    There are only a handful of people in the world with the unique ability to perform “the movie announcer” voice, and this guy is one of them.

    Pablo Francisco keeps the audience on their feet with his fast-paced series of jokes and celebrity interpretations. He is best known for his stand-up routines on Comedy Central and YouTube, as well as appearances on "MADtv."

    And he's bringing his show to North Texas; his lineup at the Arlington Improv includes up-and-coming comedians Ashley Fils-Aime and Sean Savoy and his MC, Walter Gause.

    Their family-like bond radiates on and off stage, forming one cohesive show.

    Francisco got his start by taking a shot on the improv stage when he was a Domino's pizza driver. His career took off from there, and as he looks back, he beams at all the talented comics who helped him along the way.

    He now pays it forward by helping other comics mold their craft and launch into the field. He even allows a young aspiring comic to travel with him as part of his team to learn along the way.

    “I can’t believe it even went this far," he said. "I’m not even a household name, and I made millions doing this. There are some shows I want to put together, do some more producing and help other comedians,” Francisco said.

    He said his biggest comedic influences include Dane Cook, Richard Pryor, Joan Rivers and Kathy Griffin.

    Francisco’s appearances on "MADtv" may have helped launch his career, but he said the experience itself was bittersweet.

    “It was a great experience -- so much fun to do," he said. "The problem is, there are people who are writers who don’t want to hear your ideas when your ideas start getting to the table before theirs. As comedians, we can write and perform. A lot of actors see that and think comedy is an easy thing. Then I say, 'Well, why can’t you do it?'"

    Francisco continues to build his craft. He is currently working with other comedians to develop a reality show for comic for Comedy Central.

    "We want to start a reality show about comedians at the improv called 'Improvisation Nation,'" he said. "It will be the 'on the road' show. We plan to rotate three comedians every week."

    Francisco’s parents are from Chile, but his routine does not revolve around the Hispanic community. He said he determines the tone of the show by looking at the audience.

    “(It) depends how many Latinos are in the audience," he said. "If they’re Latino, I’m Latino. If they’re black, I’m black. It all depends. I’m going to be Texan tonight.”

    Francisco said one of the most unique aspects of being a comedian is also one of its greatest challenges.

    “The biggest job is to make sure that you have your own identity," he said. "A lot of comics go up there, and they just are on automatic pilot. So mine is just to be different -- make them laugh just as much as I laughed at my first comedian."

    Francisco said "Last Comic Standing," which premiered its seventh season last week, has both positive and negative attributes.

    “I like it because the industry got into our lives," he said. "One of the things I don’t like for the people who are on it is the judges don’t give the comedians enough time. On 'American Idol,' you let them sing the song -- they ['Last Comic Standing'] don’t; that’s where they’re lacking.”

    Gause,  one of the original creators of "Last Comic Standing," remembers building the show from the grassroots.

    “I was working with a guy named Jay Moore and Britney Levin, and they had an idea for a show called 'Comic House,'" he said. "Jay called me up and said, 'Walter, we have this idea. Can you polish it up?'” Gause said.

    "When we were on the road at the Baltimore Improv, Jay and I saw this guy who was hilarious. I’ve been doing this for 20 years, and I didn’t know who this guy was," he said. "I remember Jay saying, 'Oh, now I gotta work,' because the guy was so funny. Jay said, 'That’s the guy who needs a show.'"

    Gause said he wrote all of Moore's copy during the first season, which was a huge success. It was the only season to be nominated for an Emmy, he said.

    "And I was really fortunate, because Jay opened a lot of doors for me to help me out," he said. "I will never forget that. After that NBC came in and took over the show."

    Gause said he admires how far the show has come, even if the concept has strayed a bit from the original vision.

    “When Jay, Britney and I had originally sat down, the vision was that we were going to find unknown comics," he said. "And now we have guys like Guy Torry, who has done HBO specials, and he’s on 'Last Comic Standing.' That’s not what the show was. It's show business, though. I’m not going to put it down; they got to sell orange juice, and they need guys that they know they can sell it with.”

    Pablo Francisco will perform at the Arlington Improv through Sunday. For tickets and more information, click here.