Pablo Francisco is a whirling dervish of voices, noises, sound effects and impersonations.
And on Francisco’s new CD/DVD, “They Put It Out There,” he puts it all out there. Before you can ask — Who is they, what did they put and where did they put it? — let’s take a look at a teaser trailer for the DVD. Roll it.
He hypes up the audience from the start by acting out a techno DJ dance club and bombards them for the hour with sentences that often end in honks, beeps and other noises out of his mouth that bounce the bits along from one to the next. If you’ve seen Francisco live, then you’ve seen it all before, and likely have come back for more. The difference now is that people around the world know who he is, as YouTube has opened up the global marketplace for him.
I asked him about this and more in a recent phone interview.
When did the whole YouTube thing take you global? “It’s worked for me tremendously. We went out to Scandinavia, Norway, Sweden, Africa…all the promoters there see your stuff on YouTube,” Francisco said. “I would say about four years ago (it started to happen). I was in Miami, and a bunch of people from Sweden walked up to me and said, ‘You’re really huge in Sweden.’ I didn’t think about it, and then I went to the Improv up the street and more Swedish people came up to me and said, ‘You’re big in Sweden.’ I figured there really must be something to it!”
Did you have a strategy for putting things out there beforehand? “We have a friend of ours who knows how to make it viral, and the rest of it is just word-of-mouth. They make cartoons, they make animations that go with the videos. I’m a happy camper. Let’s put it that way.”
You’ve been doing the voice of the ‘movie guy’, late voiceover artist Don LaFontaine, for years. How did you adapt his voice into the act after he died? “The thing is, when I met him, I met him at Frank Caliendo’s taping of Frank TV, and he said, ‘You do me better than I do me.’ He had me over to his place and told me, ‘I do five voiceovers a day and I live like a king.’ I don’t talk about him. I keep him mysterious. He was very nice to give me his instrument.”
How did that come about? “I was with my friends one time. I was in Las Vegas. And the King of Queens guy, Kevin James, he said, ‘You have to make fun of that guy. You have to keep using it.’ In a word.”
I noticed you had written notes on your hand. He refers to it after about half-hour, claiming the “hand jokes” were new jokes he wanted to try for the special. Are we supposed to buy that? “Those are sometimes, I’ll write notes on my hand, so I don’t forget to bring up a topic. Sometimes a new joke…we’ll use it for the joke. There are new jokes, that’ll be a fun thing to do. There are some new ones. What do you call a Chinese man with a huge penis? Cock Asian. There are some jokes that get cut out of there.”
Speaking of which, what extras are on the DVD? “There’s like an hour-and-a-half of stuff. A lot of things. We’re going to be jumping from…the midget family, the dwarf family, the ShamWow guy, all the way to Little Tortilla Boy Part Two.”
What was the first voice you used to do? “I think it was Arnold Schwarzenegger doing the Little Tortilla Boy.”
No, no before you were in the clubs… “I used to do Kermit the Frog as a pimp. ‘Give me the money, bitch.'”
How old were you? “I’d say I was 13 to 14 years old when I was doing that one. I did that in class a few times. Got kicked out of science class a few times, had to go to summer school.”
Have you gone back to that town to show your teachers how Kermit grew up? “No, I have not shown Mrs. Walton yet. I still have nightmares about high school.”
You’re still voicing Ahnold in the act, of course. Some comedians get tired of doing a bit despite of or perhaps because it’s hugely popular. Like Jim Gaffigan doesn’t say “Hot Pockets” anymore. Are there any voices or noises you’re tired of doing? “No. I’m not like that. I know what I’m going to do. I don’t fall into something I don’t want to do. I’ll know that way beforehand.”
Here’s a bit from the CD/DVD in which Francisco imagines several celebrities — including Ozzy Osbourne, Gary Busey, Tom Cruise, Bill Cosby and more — ordering a sandwich at Subway. Roll it.
Do voices bring out the kid in us? “It makes a better picture of what really goes on, and it comes out in a crazy stupid sarcastic way. Because the ShamWow guy looks like he farted and froze his face.”
Buy the CD via iTunes:
Buy the DVD via Amazon: