Starting in the third grade, Pablo Francisco became captivated by the sound of his own voice, including him mimicking others.
“I was fascinated with the tape recorder (I got) with the red button and to hear my voice on there. It was like magic or wizardry,” he said. “I started doing that, entertaining my cousins and friends. I started going to school with it.
“After a while, I had a few neighbors that were big family (friends) and they would actually make fun of my parents and I would make fun of their parents and it started rolling into that. Then watching ‘The Muppet Show’ and (doing) impersonations of that, it spun off (from) that.”
Francisco has parlayed that silliness into a successful career as a standup comedian, and will appear at The Punchline Comedy Club in Buckhead Dec. 13 through 15 for six shows total. The 48-year-old has worked in the industry for nearly 31 years and lives in Redondo Beach, California.
“(I’m) having fun with it,” Francisco said. “I didn’t know a hobby could turn into such a fun career. Some call it a job. Going on the road is my relaxation. Coming home is (also) fun, and there’s clubs where I can go and watch other comedians and learn from them, too.”
He’s sold out countless shows in the United States, London, Amsterdam and Australia and has appeared at the South African Comedy Festival.
“Pablo really is on stage with a level of energy you don’t necessarily see as much as you maybe once did (with comedians),” said Jamie Bendall, one of the Punchline’s co-owners. “… It says something (that) you can still be on stage with that level of energy and be that engaging over that period of time.”
Francisco has also appeared on several TV shows, including “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” and Comedy Central’s “The Show Biz Show w/David Spade” and “Mind of Mencia.”
According to a news release, his two Comedy Central one-hour specials, “They Put It Out There” (2011) and “Ouch!” (2006) remain on the network’s most-requested list. Francisco also has appeared on TBS’s “Frank TV” (2007-08), hosted by Frank Caliendo, another comedian known for impersonations.
That’s where Caliendo introduced him to voice actor Don LaFontaine, known for the “in a world” phrase used in movie trailers, shortly before his death in 2008. LaFontaine recorded more than 5,000 film trailers and hundreds of thousands of TV ads, network promotions and video game trailers.
“We met with Don and he was part of (the show’s impersonations),” Francisco said. “Don said, ‘You do (my voice) better than me.’ He said if I do three of these (voiceovers) a day, I’ll live like a king.”
As a veteran comedian, he has been performing at The Punchline for about 20 years and does shows there twice a year.
"It’s one of the best clubs in the United States,” Francisco said. “I was fortunate to get in with them. From that point on, it’s been a riot. The crowds there are so hip. It’s a great place to try new stuff and get (impersonation) requests and be the jukebox of comedy.”
The Punchline is located at 3652 Roswell Road in Atlanta, in the back of the Landmark Diner. Tickets to Francisco’s shows are $25 or $27.50 depending on the date and time. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.punchline.com.