Emo Philips, comedy genius (repost)

I wrote this years ago,  when I was still blogging on another site. But since I’m in a show-biz story kind of mood these days, I thought I’d repost this, about the time(s) I met Emo Philips.

The first time I met Emo, I was still waitressing/bartending at Snickerz Comedy Bar in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He was a huge name in comedy at the time–he was on all the TV shows and cable channels, and he had even released a record (that’s a large, round, flat piece of vinyl, similar to a CD, that we used to play on something called a “record player”). The club was sold out for all the shows, SRO (standing room only). Like most big name acts, Emo kept to himself and the staff didn’t see him much. My most intimate interaction with him, that time, was when he signed an 8×10 glossy photo for me, “Dear Lisa, Thank you for the hamsters. Love, Emo”

Pardon me while I have a Strange Interlude: That Saturday night, on my way to work at Snickerz for Emo week, I totaled my car and smashed my face up a bit. My nose was broken, and my uniform and face were both drenched with blood. I knew that if I went straight to the hospital and called in “sick” from the ER, Kevin (my boss) wouldn’t believe how serious it was, because NO ONE called in sick during one of these SRO events without losing their job. The fact that I was in shock (and a bit of a drama queen) helped me to do this–I drove to the club and parked my crumpled car in front. I made my way through the crowd that was waiting to get in, up to the front to where Kevin was seating people. One look told him that I wasn’t faking just to get the night off. He sent me off to the ER, toute suite.

Anyhoo, my real Emo story is much more fun.

Years later, after I had moved to Chicago and had been performing comedy for a few years, a good friend of mine was working at Catch A Rising Star. His name was Gary Kern and he was a “comic’s comic.” This means that he was so funny that he could crack up even the most jaded comedian, and sometimes the crowds just didn’t get how really brilliant he was. Gary, who died a few months after this gig, had a lot of friends and several comics came to see him that night because it was early in the week and most of us had to work on the weekends. We were all sitting at a table, chatting, when Emo (who was also a fan of Gary’s) came into the room and sat next to me, the only open seat at the table.

I would be lying if I didn’t admit to realizing how cool it was that I had gotten to a point in my career where I was actually hanging out with the caliber of performer that I was with–that Emo Philips would just stroll into the room and sit next to me as though I were his peer. But I digress.

At one point, Emo turned to me and said in his lilting, sing-song voice, “I have a joke I’d like to tell you. Let me know what you think.”

I’m pretty sure I don’t have this joke word for word as he told it, but it went something like this (you really have to read this in Emo’s voice):

“I went to the doctor and said, ‘Doctor, it hurts after I pee.’ The doctor said, (*dramatic sigh*) ‘Emo, Emo, Emo … When you’re done, don’t wring it out.’” With this, Emo made a tight, wringing gesture, as though he was squeezing water out of a drenched towel.

Not only was it a funny joke, it was the fact that Emo Philips–one of the cleverest, cleanest acts in comedy–was telling me a dick joke that made it hysterical. I laughed my ass off, long and hard.

The best part of the whole story was his reaction to my laughter. He was so happy that I laughed, I mean genuinely happy–his face lit up with absolute pure delight, like a child about to blow out birthday candles–so very happy that he hugged me tight and exclaimed, “You liked my joke!”

It was one of the sweetest moments of my life, witnessing such innocent happiness and being the cause of it. It still makes me smile, to this day.

I’ll close this blog with a prayer by Emo Philips: “Dear Lord, Please break the laws of the Universe for my convenience.”

Here’s you an emo dog:

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3 responses to “Emo Philips, comedy genius (repost)

  1. More! More! More! I LOVE your stories!
    Thanks so much, Lisa!!!
    Pam Sekula

  2. Pingback: I slept on Bob Odenkirk’s floor | Here's you a blog ...

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