Possibly because I’m not a YouTube junkie, I first heard about comedian Pablo Francisco in the 2018 Melbourne Fringe guide. The blurb there promised “a stand-up show that more resembles an hour-long comedic jazz riff.” That’s reasonably accurate, but don’t go along thinking you’ll get something like a Bill Bailey set. Francisco doesn’t mind a bit of coarse language and adult themes.
We began with MC Ashley Fils-Aime. His spots linking the sets were amusing, as were some cameos in the later sets. Warm up guy Steve Kramer had some odd angles in his observational comedy. Who knew Popeye could find expression through the music of Megadeth? This spot also had some amusing musical numbers. Kramer’s talent with character voices and impressions gave a teaser of what was to come in the headline act.
Kramer’s housemate Francisco took the energy up a notch. His routine was a bit like Looney Tunes cartoons for adults. It was a rapid-fire set where Francisco jumped between celebrity impressions and his own characters. Sometimes he was like a naughty child, such as when he used Fils-Aime to drop the “N word” on his behalf.
Francisco isn’t going to appeal to everyone. Some might find that the fast pace depends on quite a bit of repetition. It was also a bit uncomfortable when he leaned on racial stereotypes for laughs.
However, the set showed some thought for variety. There were interludes where animation (drawn by Kramer) was projected, to poke fun at public figures. Yes, this included Trump, but at least here we didn’t get jibes that have been done to death.
There’s not much subtlety around Francisco’s style. If you want jokes about celebrities, strippers, booze, or sex though, you can’t argue that he’s very good at what he does. That must be why he gets to travel the world being a potty-mouthed big kid. Certainly the crowd of devotees in the house were well pleased by the irreverent and high-energy set.
Pablo Francisco’s Australianator Tour
Athenaeum Theatre, Collins Street, Melbourne
Performance: Thursday 27 September 2018 – 7:30pm
Image: Pablo Francisco(supplied)
Review: Jason Whyte