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Monday, October 19, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Comedian, impersonator Pablo Francisco to try out new material in Spokane

Comedian Pablo Francisco performs Sunday night at the Spokane Comedy Club, in advance of a new hourlong special. (Personal Publicity)
Comedian Pablo Francisco performs Sunday night at the Spokane Comedy Club, in advance of a new hourlong special. (Personal Publicity)

Pablo Francisco’s mind is a frenzy.

In the span of just a few minutes, the improv-trained comedian and impersonator jumps from the persona of actors Mark Wahlberg and Michael J. Fox, to President Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and perhaps one of his most iconic impressions, that of movie trailer voiceover artist Don LaFontaine, whom he met while performing on colleague Frank Caliendo’s TBS short-lived sketch show.

“I met Don LaFontaine, and he said, ‘Do you want to come to my house?’ ” Francisco said, dropping his voice into the gravely octave made famous in LaFontaine’s action trailers. “So I went to his house, and he goes, ‘You do me, better than I do me. I’ve always wanted someone to do me.’ ”

Francisco brings his frenetic, schizophrenic brand of stand-up to the stage of the Spokane Comedy Club for one night only Sunday. The 43-year-old comedian, who wrote in the 1990s for “Saturday Night Live” competitor “MadTV” and has collaborated with the likes of Carlos Mencia and Gabriel Iglesias, said he’ll be trying out new material for an upcoming comedy special, his first since 2011’s “They Put it Out There.”

“We do the album, and we’ve got to make sure we do the laughs, and make sure we’re making fun of all those pharmaceutical commercials out there,” Francisco said, launching into another bit. “You know, Plavix really helps your heart, but you need Busta Rhymes to tell you how bad it is …” before launching into an indecipherable beatbox riffing on the rapper and superfast disclaimer language.

Francisco says his impressions, and his act, are not meant to be taken seriously. But he ran into some trouble when he saw one of his favorite targets, crooner Aaron Neville, outside one of the singer’s performances in Cleveland. Francisco said he walked up to Neville, who was standing outside his tour bus, and started spoofing a milk commercial the singer had recently produced. Francisco mimicked hitting Neville’s signature octave changes in the middle of words, and said he walked away with an autograph, though he didn’t think Neville appreciated the imitation.

“He looked like he shopped at Baby Gap, and he had a tattoo on his eye, and I went, ‘Mike T-y-y-y-son,’ ” Francisco said.

Francisco said he grew up, like many comedians, trying to make his friends in school laugh.

“Some teachers really dug it, some didn’t take it too well,” he said. “My mom and dad, they let me do what I wanted to, a little bit. But it got scary and stuff when I graduated. You have to be your own writer, and director, and finance stuff.”

Francisco said he developed his style watching interviews given by Rodney Dangerfield on old VHS tapes, and mimicking John Travolta during the actor’s height of popularity in movies like “Grease” and “Saturday Night Fever.”

Francisco described the style of his new show, which will be performed on stage in Tacoma earlier in the weekend, as a mix between Dave Chappelle, meets cartoons, divided by the square root of Pablo Francisco.”

“Just tell everybody, to start the party at the Pablo show,” Francisco said.

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