Pablo Francisco

A Knee to the Groin

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Comedian Pablo Francisco likes to identify himself as a "friendly Latino," as if there would ever be some sort of question as to his ethnic background at any point during his set. A real question: why make the "friendly" distinction? Why anything but "friendly"? Apparently it goes to show us all: without being who we are, who would we be? Francisco pumps the old railcar of discomfort -- usually at the expense of minorities -- over genuine humor, inspiring audiences to wriggle in their seats and grimace nervously on cue in response to his patently offensive -- and pointless -- Asian and American Indian imitations. He needs a traveling sound system to support his sound-effect fetish as well: he should invest in one of those college courses that teach you how to do fun stuff with your speech-producing mechanism like Michael Winslow (the sound-effects guy in all those Police Academy movies). To his credit, Francisco likes to dissolve somewhat gradually into a weird little pond of silliness, which if mismanaged properly can always be good for an involuntary giggle or ten. Silliness sells, like the gasping surrender to tickling. He recovers to form something like a puddle of himself in time to deliver a standup standup at the end of the show, parodying movies in a refreshing and dead-on, straight-faced style with plenty of well-written punchlines that soar over the cheapness of his ethnic accents. And will these guys ever leave poor Aaron Neville alone? He's too easy! Only an OK comic routine at large.

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