Comedian Pablo Francisco is somewhere in Virginia Beach, en route to another round of publicity interviews, and his cell phone is stuck under his seat. He and his driver can hear it ringing but decide to retrieve it after they arrive at their destination. Except that plan won't work. He's supposed to be doing an interview right now. With me. It takes one writer, one publicist, one driver and about five phone calls to coordinate a mid-trip pull over to the side of road to free the trapped cell and get Francisco on the phone. But hey, it's hard to keep your schedule straight when you perform all over the world.
Francisco -- most famous for his impression of Don LaFontaine, the late movie-trailer voiceover master -- just wrapped up a mega tour in Sweden, and he's played everywhere from Australia to South Africa to Amsterdam.
"The Internet is a great tool to reach people out there in Scandinavia and those places," he says. "They do have television, some have cable, some have satellite, but a lot of people don't. And they all go to YouTube after 10 o'clock at night and watch a little Oprah and they watch Dr. Phil, and comedians are going up there now. ... It's basically breaking through to a new demographic. You can be a star even if you're not a star."
Australia is one of Francisco's favorite places. "It's just a vibe to the [place], and the way the people talk is hilarious," he says. "They're so opposite. Everyone knows each other. So you see two people having a bar fight, and they get their friends to back them up, it's not gonna work."
This year, he's back in the U.S., where we have something no other country does: Jimmy Fallon. Francisco and Fallon go way back, to acting class days, and Francisco loves to visit Fallon's late night show.
"I'll try my material on him, and he makes it better," Francisco says. "We both went our different routes after acting class, but he remembered me, and we started where we left off." While Fallon went the SNL and talk show route, Francisco worked his way up the ranks of stand-up.
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Francisco's highly successful strategy -- pop culture meets impressions meets observational stand up -- is an art he's still expanding. His latest challenge? Mark Wahlberg.
"He's in every movie," the comedian says. "He's the new Ironman." He's also testing out Vin Diesel. "I'm trying to work on Vin Diesel, watching Riddick. Vin Diesel is hard. I think he has a voice box or something down there." Justin Bieber might be in his future, but Francisco is quick to note he "can't get arrested right now."
Francisco will be at the Addison Improv this Thursday through Sunday. Tickets are available online. 21 and up.