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A Bonus Double-Performance Compilation of this Legendary, Weird and Hilarious Comedian,
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This review is from: E=mo2 (Audio CD)
I've added a scan of the CD case back to this Amazon page which shows the 'Track' Listing.
Being not much younger than this comedy genius means I have been aware of him right from the start of his 'career', him being American has created a problem being able to see him perform regularly but I did manage to hear him quite often on the radio at least (Radio 2 on Saturdays I think).
Nowadays it doesn't really matter as you can get this CD (collating 2 earlier separate CDs onto 1) to experience him from performances dating back to the '80s; there is also a more recent CD from around 2001 - here's the Amazon link :
I find it difficult to properly describe his 'type' of humour, but it is essentially a series of 2-liners of what I believe are referred to as 'garden path' sentences, where the first sentence leads you 'down the path of understanding' only for the second 'punchline' sentence to scotch your just-formulated 'expectation'. This means it is quite easy to either miss the punchline or not properly appreciate it, especially as Philips is usually already embarking on delivering yet another quip...! What I certainly can be definitive about is that whilst not overly rude or offensive, his humour is definitely more adult-orientated in nature.
Just as significant about his act is his appearance and delivery. Whether his on-stage appearance or voice are genuine in his 'normal' life (if his life is ever normal !), they are both very odd - a thin frame with a scraggly medieval-type 'pudding bowl' hair-style (at least when he was younger) contribute to his weirdness, accentuated by his delivery being courtesy of a high-pitched/falsetto voice embellished with regular contortions of his upper body and the occasional sound of him sucking air in rapidly through what sounds like clenched teeth.
Does that put you off ? I hope not, because otherwise (assuming you have a funny bone) you'd be missing out on one of the most original, long-term and hilarious stand-up comedians that has ever graced this planet ! You can of course do a quick 'check of likeability' in these modern times by searching the 'Interweb' for sample audio/video clips of him at work....
My life was made complete (sort of) not too long ago when I caught mention of the news that Emo Philips was to appear at the Newbury Comedy Festival of 2006 (it hadn't even occurred to me that he was still performing !). Despite living some distance away I got a ticket and journeyed south to catch him 'in the flesh'. I understand he's been to these shores multiple times over the years, but never having been aware I had obviously lost out on the opportunity up until then. Whilst the audience was capacity, afterwards I was surprised to hear many people hadn't actually heard of Emo before - with his act that night including an archive silent movie of his being shown, with him playing the clarinet live to accompany it, no doubt confused the hell out of the previously 'unaware' even more ! With hindsight, the other notable feature of the evening was that the warm-up act was a new/fresh 'talent' going by the name of Michael McIntyre....!
What I'm still kicking myself over is later on finding out that after the show Emo came into the auditorium and hung around entertaining everyone with his mere presence for an appreciable time - damn !
Playing this CD is a perfect reminder of that happy night when I saw him perform live, so that is hopefully recommendation enough - Go buy !