Hello Pabloby Bartlett / 12.08.2011
The chicken that is the Nando’s Comedy Festival crossed the road into Cape Town this week. Our man Bartlett caught up with headline act, Pablo Francisco, at a secluded hotel room for some one-on-one action. Mahala also threw in a camera for some futuristic multi-media interview action…
Mahala: What’s not funny for you?
Pablo Francisco: Uh… Politics, man. When people talk about politics it’s like a vicious circle. “I’m a Republican!” “I’m a Democrat!” But they believe in the same thing, like world peace or whatever. So when people talk about politics, man, I gotta go.
What’s sad for you?
Some of the things that go on around handicapped issues. I’ve been touring with a friend who has cerebral palsy, and he struggles to talk. But he still tells the jokes, and people are like, “oh man, your friend’s so drunk.” And I’m like, “no man, he’s not drunk…” And they’re like, “he’s really drunk.” And I’m like, “he’s not drunk!”
So that, and religion is hard. I can’t do religious jokes. Or when someone dies in the paper, like in a plane crash, and it’s real sad – those are some of the things that I choose not to joke about.
Would you say that humour is a weapon?
It’s a good way to get your point across. I have a friend of mine who gambles a lot…
That’s the way, that’s the only way I can get my point across. So humour is a good way to get stuff out of my friends. But as a weapon? I think success is a fabulous weapon. Getting, you know, successful, and showing your ex-girlfriends there [flips the bird], fuck you.
Can you track your humour back to a time in your childhood say, when you’d try to make your mom laugh to stay in her good books?
Yeah, my folks used to have people over for dinner all the time and I’d go into their cupboards, and come out and be like, “hey, I put your lipstick on!” I used to do that with my cousins all the time and they’d be like, “OK, so you’re gonna wear your mom’s dress.” And we’d come out and do a little fashion show… So yeah,it started with making the moms laugh, and then the neighbours, and then there was always the neighbor who wanted you to keep doing it and show up at the party and do something stupid.
Do you look for affirmation in that?
Affirmation? What’s affirmation?
I suppose what I’m talking about, with comedians specifically, is a need to be loved…
I think a lot of comedians do it because they feel they haven’t been heard. Or they’re, like, into themselves. I like to get everyone laughing, but if I can get sections of the crowd laughing, that works for me too.
Do you know how many hits that clip of you doing the voiceover guy has got on Youtube?
Yeah, like 3 million. Something like that?
No, 10 million and 88 000…
Really? Yeah, well a lot of those are me getting high, after I do a lot of coke, hitting the replay button. Just clicking myself.
What’s your mission in life?
My mission in life is to retire with enough money, and I seem to be doing OK with that. So, let me see… my mission in life is to get two girls at one time without paying for it.
You’re not married?
No, when I’m drunk I’m not married. No, I’m single. Have to be single. I just can’t deal with the crazy women out there.
And you’re not gay?
Not gay. I’m a flaming heterosexual! I didn’t think that I was gonna go this far as a comedian. It was just a hobby that turned into a career. I’d like to maybe just do a movie or something, keep breaking into the markets. I’ve been involved in a few TV shows, and the work ethic is just way too much. There are always a bunch of really funny, great actors, but the writers of the show are not that funny, and they’re just slowly stabbing it, draining it of all its life force.
How did you break into comedy?
By accident, kinda, sorta. I got fired. Working at Domino’s Pizza, and I delivered my last pizza to a comedy club, and the comedian brought me up on stage and worked me into his act. And I got addicted to that. I was like “hey, I’m just gonna hang out with you guys.” And so I did amateur night, started writing my own stuff, and it just grew from there.
Who’s the most famous person you know? Do you meet other famous, successful people and be like, “oh man, I want a string of portfolios like you and be as rich and successful as you are.” Do you have that kind of hunger?
No, not at all! I know Jamie Foxx really well, we went to school together. He just landed in Cape Town, so we’ll hang out.
What’s Cape Town’s reputation like overseas?
Party town! Hot chicks! People go there to model.
Do you have an entourage?
No entourage. Just all the people in my head. I basically have no time to spend my money. I’m either eating or sleeping, or working on new shit, watching TV. I bought a few houses, got a few cars. So I just kick back and enjoy life.
Are you constantly looking at life and thinking of new material? How do you do that?
Yeah, I write stuff down on my hand.
That’s basically where my life is going. Try write it down on my hand, put it all down on books, go up on stage.
Who’s the funniest comedian you know?
Man, I think Jamie Foxx. He’s got a real good outlook on life. Otherwise, Carlos Mencia, Dane Cook, Joan Rivers.
And so ended my fifteen minutes with fame. Back in the car and Pablo is already on the radio with Fresh, doing his Arnold voice. That’s how the Hunta Live hype machine rolls. What kind of impression did Pablo leave? What is there to be read between the lines?
I surmise that a comedian who’s carved a career niche impressing people by doing impressions of others, isn’t gonna give you the chance to leave much of an impression of himself. I bet there’s only a few peeps, like Jamie Foxx, that can really lay claim to knowing what makes Pablo tick.
I was looking forward to watching him live on opening night at the Artscape, and I was to be disappointed. Beautiful Cape Town was out in full force, it was a packed house. All the comedians – local and international alike – killed it. Maybe it was the Woman’s Day drinking that played a part, but getting a laugh was like clubbing seals.
And then on came Pablo, his 10-million-Youtube-hits-reputation preceding him. He was totally ADD. Spazzed out. A retarded kid on too much sugar. It was something to witness, no doubt. He literally just made sounds, grunts mostly. I’d label it absurdism. A long bit about a techno DJ, lots of self-deprecating bits about his bald spot. High, high-energy comedy that elicited more nervous laughter than anything else.
As his set wore on and Pablo jumped from impression to impression, he fell between two stools. Somewhere between a confident, self-made comedian who can bask in the spotlight for a second or two without fear of awkward silence, and an impresario who can slice to the heart of a celebrity caricature “This is my impression of Paris Hilton at Subway: [nose schnarrffing then arms folded]…’I’m not hungry’”
My guess is that somewhere in the few moments of silence – onstage, or after a big night out – the demons try to catch up with Pablo Francisco. So he keeps them at bay by filling his world with noise. My hope is that he finds a deeper happiness somewhere down the line, and my wish is that he fulfills a greater destiny. Even if he walks the Jim Carrey road of a breakout comedy movie. Because one thing’s for sure: Pablo Francisco is a comic genius, and the world will be a richer place for being able to watch him in high-res on the big screen.
To catch the last few performances of Pablo and the boys, click here.