Chorley, Lancashire, England
|Occupation||Comedian, impressionist, author, musician, songwriter|
Cool discovered that he had the ability to pull faces when he was a 12-year old at school. Once he left school he worked briefly in a warehouse and as an electrician before turning professional as a comedian and impressionist.
Whereas many of his impressionist peers concentrated on mimicking the voice of the target and changing in and out of a succession of hats, beards, spectacles and coats, Cool placed an emphasis on thrusting his eyebrows, lips and even, seemingly, his ears into the positions required of the part, rather than on costumes.
Cool's debut television appearance was in the short lived comedy show Rock With Laughter, it was round about this time that he made a career-defining performance at Jasper Carrott's Folk Club "The Boggery". Carrott was impressed with Cool's act and decided to take an active hand in furthering his career. In 1983 he appeared as a regular on the O.T.T. spin-off Saturday Stayback and, in 1984, he became one of the voice artists for the satirical show Spitting Image, impersonating Boy George, Holly Johnson and Mick Jagger for the first two series. It was during his time on Spitting Image that a producer for the BBC spotted him, and got him work on Pebble Mill at One.
After the success of these appearances, he was given his own series called Cool It (BBC). The first series of Cool It was a hit and was repeated within a matter of months (at the time that was unheard of for a new television artist). The tie-in video release of the best moments of Cool It became a best-seller. The second series in 1986 (which was also produced by Jasper Carrott) proved to be a bigger success. The BBC released another video Cool It Too. Cool recorded an album on Virgin Records called Not Just a Pretty Face, and a book titled Cool's Out. His popularity was underlined in 1987 when he was asked to perform at The Secret Policeman's Third Ball. The third and final series was broadcast in 1988.
In 1989 he appeared in the mini-film, Night of the Comic Dead, alongside Frank Carson, Karl Howman and Howard Lew Lewis as part of A Night of Comic Relief 2. His third video Cool 'N' Hot, filmed live at the Royal Leamington Spa Centre in 1989 also sold well.
In 1991 he moved to ITV and made a series called Cool Head (Central Television). In the same year Central released a video showcasing some of the best moments of Cool Head. A year later he made another series for Central that was entitled Phil Cool, recorded at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry. This turned out to be Cool's last series for television to date.
In 1992 Cool teamed up with Jasper Carrott and toured the country with their "Carrott & Cool" show, playing to sold out houses, some with as many as four bedrooms. The "Carrott & Cool" tour was the subject for one episode of A Day in the Life for Channel 4 in 1993. The episode took a behind the scenes look at the show and tour.
He had a brief comeback in 1997 when he released his fifth official video, Classic Cool (this has been reissued on DVD), but in August 2000 his career had to be put on hold when he suffered a heart attack, which left him in hospital for eight months. After making a full recovery he returned to the stage with a brand new show in 2002, and in 2003 he revived his touring partnership with Carrott. He is now a resident in Chipping, Lancashire, and he is still performing regularly for UK audiences up and down the country each year (even leap years).
In addition to his solo gigs, Cool toured in 2008 with Ken Nicol, performing as Nicol and Cool, providing a blend of music and comedy impressions. Nicol and Cool toured with folk rock group Fairport Convention as a support act for Fairport's winter tour 2009. They released an album, also called Nicol & Cool.
Cool's most recent television and film work has been an appearance on Today with Des and Mel in 2006, being interviewed as part of the BBC's The Story of Light Entertainment and appearing in the movies Upstaged (2005) and The School That Roared (2009).
Cool's autobiography, Phil Cool Died Here (And Lived To Tell The Tale), was followed by a book of 'Art Brut'-inspired sketches of children.
In a 2002 production on BBC comedy performers, Karl Howman recalled how he and Cool obtained tickets and backstage passes for a World Championship Wrestling (WCW) event while both were in the United States during the early 1990s. Cool's humour and impressions of wrestling stars such as Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair were well received by the wrestlers backstage who were told of his BBC work and keen to have Cool involved in the product in some way. Cool's schedule would not allow a long term commitment, but he did appear at one live show, portraying masked wrestler Kendo Nagasaki (also known as The Dragonmaster). Cool was unmasked and revealed as an imposter sent by Nagasaki to throw off his opponent. The real Nagasaki, played by Kazuo Sakurada (who is also well known as the trainer of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and WCW superstar Bret "The Hitman" Hart), appeared on the rampway as Cool delivered some amusing facial expressions and a brief monologue in the ring.
In 2013 Cool began a farewell nationwide tour, declaring it would definitely be his last because he'd "just had enough of all the travelling".
- Cool It (1985)
- Cool It Too (1986)
- Cool 'n' Hot (1989)
- Cool Head (1991)
- How To Cheat at Fishing (1995)
- Classic Cool (1997)
- The Last Mimzy (2007)
- Neville Thurlbeck, "Phil Cool reveals why he’s ready to bow out of touring ", Wales Online, 29 March 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
- York Membery, "Who'd have thought it... Phil Cool is not at all averse to verse", Daily Express, 11 February 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
- John Anson, "Funnyman Phil Cool to bid farewell to fans on final tour", Lancashire Telegraph, 22 February 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
- Phil Cool – Biography
- Nicol and Cool
- "This is Comedy?". Episode 1/1. 2002. 34 minutes in. BBC. BBC 1. Karl Howman segment featuring clips from Brush Strokes and Mulberry, and insights on BBC friends and colleagues.