Shout! Factory // 2004 // 50 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // September 8th, 2004
Pablo Francisco: Funny ha-ha?
I recognized Pablo Francisco from a brief try-out for Last Comic Standing this year. He had performed a bit about Spanish music that was amusing at first, but then seemed overused.
Now having seen his Bits and Pieces show, I can safely say that he is funnier than at least half of the ten comedians who were deemed funnier than him by Last Comic Standing's producers.
From the moment his gets to the stage, the guy just rides a wave of energy. He rockets through his material, barely giving his audience time to catch up or savor his latest joke. Francisco is a master of "fusillade humor."
Though he had substantially funny jokes, many of the laughs came as a result of his physical humor and voice work. He utilizes a limited number of voices -- a universal "girl" voice and a universal "old guy" voice are apparently his favorites -- but does them so well, and knows when to hit the audience with 'em, they didn't grow tiresome.
What did grow tiresome were his relentless "hump" jokes. After the first several times of the comedian pretending to hump a girl/R2-D2/a bobble-head doll, the "Look-at-him-move-his-hips-like-that-and-pretend-he's-having-sex-with-whatever-he's-talking-about" laugh-generating effect wore off. There's nothing wrong with sophomoric humor, but way-too-damn sophomoric is another thing.
One of Pablo Francisco's greatest strengths is his self-propelled sound effects. I've mentioned the voices already, but this guy excels at making these voices/characters fit into his jokes. A few of my favorite bits (both featuring the "old guy" voice) involved a trip to the body-piercing pagoda, where Pablo as himself had to face a grubby, prodding pervert, and a rendition of a confrontation of a NASCAR fan, ending in a profane exclamation. Pretty funny.
While Francisco's hyperactivity is one his main comedic weapons, sometimes it could backfire. When he first started, he was jumping around so quickly, his act seemed very stream-of-consciousness. Particularly a story about his experience at a strip bar and how he was told he looked like a monkey and that he started making sounds like a duck lost me. It wasn't very funny and was so disjointed it screamed "had-to-be-there."
But eventually the guy settled down and dug into his routine. Like most stand-up shows, there were hits and misses, but I have to hand it to Pablo Francisco: he hit a lot more than he missed, and for the most part, he hit them far. Like at least ground-rule doubles.
I love that these comics are getting DVD treatments from Shout! Factory. And this dude has the skills to pay the bills. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
The disc itself is light on the special features (a three-minute question and answer session with the comic and a screensaver), though a commentary track by Francisco is a welcome treat. It's like a mix: first, you get a bonus comedy routine, as the comedian riffs on himself and launches into bits on the track, and second, you get some interesting insight into the process. For example, turns out that the stripper story was real! I always thought comedians made that crap up!
I was also surprised by the sweet widescreen transfer. Of course, when you've just got a guy on a stage in a dark club for fifty minutes, the video is not pivotal in the effect of the presentation, but I gotta give the studio props for releasing a tight little disc.
Review content copyright © 2004 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Shout! Factory
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 50 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Commentary Track
* Q&A with Pablo Francisco
* Official Site