Impressions are lasting at comedy show

Last Tuesday, a packed crowd in the Packer Hall gymnasium was treated to an evening of comedy headlined by Pablo Francisco. The show also featured former “Saturday Night Live” cast member Dean Edwards.

Students and visiting friends lined up outside the door more than 20 minutes before the event, many of them eager to see Francisco live for the first time. It was not his first visit to the College. Francisco’s last appearance was in 2003.

In the last 10 years, Francisco recorded three live comedy CDs, “A Knee to the Groin,” “Sausage” and “Pablo 3.” He recently released a DVD called “Bits and Pieces,” recorded during an Orange County stand-up performance.

He is perhaps best known for his appearances on Comedy Central, energetic, rapid-fire style of sound effects and his pop culture references.

For his routine, Francisco launched almost immediately into his most famous voice – the “movie trailer announcer,” who deeply and dramatically promotes upcoming films (“Jackie Chan IS.”).

The dead-on voice is not only useful for mocking current movies, but has brought him an extra job. Since using the voice in his act, he has recorded trailers and commercials for TBS and Comedy Central.

The audience was both amused and impressed by his ability to channel the voice, while also providing a wide array of movie sound effects like punches, twangy music and a human heartbeat.

Francisco also performed a lot of risqu? sexual humor. In one bit, he talked about Captain Cockblock, a superhero dedicated to preventing his friends from having sex. He also imitated love-making between celebrities, cartoon characters (Droopy Dog and Mr. Magoo will not be burned out of the audience’s brains anytime soon).

In one of his funniest jokes, Francisco listed songs that are nearly impossible to have sex to, such as “Monster Mash” and “Tequila.” He tackled current events with a “Brokeback Mountain” parody set in the ‘hood – “out of the closet, into the streets,” he said.

Francisco performed popular older routines, such as his horror-movie spoof (“Is someone there? Billy? I’m gonna get naked and take a shower!”) and his imagined trailer for an Arnold Swarzenegger action movie called “Little Tortilla Boy.”

Edwards interacted with the crowd in a semi-improv style and some college-themed humor.

He mined a variety of subjects for material, including the repetitiveness of rap music videos (put them on mute and you can watch “one long video” for an hour), the rules of men’s restrooms (e.g., standing one urinal apart), and advice for photos (his member name is DeanEdwards1, if you’d like to put him in your Top Eight).

Edwards joked about the cheapness of the gymnasium venue. He elicited cheers from the audience by giving one of the microphone stands to a student and insisting, “This is yours! Take it!” because of the overpriced $14,000 tuition. He amended the statement afterward, saying, “Don’t say I told you to.”

Appropriate for a Francisco crowd, however, Edwards got the most laughs out of celebrity impersonations, including Chris Rock, Denzel Washington, Jay-Z and an incoherent, drowsy version of rapper 50 Cent.

Although the word hilarious was heard quite a bit after the show, not all the audience members were long-time Francisco fans.

“I had never heard of him before,” admitted Lindsay Knight, junior English major and member of College Union Board (CUB), which sponsored the event. “I thought he was hilarious,” she said.

All three comedians stuck around after the show to sign autographs, take cell phone pictures and talk to their fans.

Asked how the college experience compares to smaller clubs, Francisco said, “It’s fun because you don’t stay all week. You just come down, meet all the people.”

Francisco also said he prefers colleges to small clubs, because he can perform in front of “a thousand people instead of like 200.”

Francisco named his “brother’s tape recorder” as his inspiration for comedy – he honed his talents at a young age watching late-night comedians and imitating their routines.

“He was really awesome, hilarious,” Lauren Paris, junior elementary education/Spanish major, said. “I loved his imitations.”

Arun Gurunathan, freshman biology major, agreed that the imitations were a highlight. “The voices were amazing,” he said. “So he was funny and also really talented.”