February 7, 1956
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Emo Philips (born February 7, 1956) is an American actor, stand-up comedian, writer and producer. His stand-up comedy persona makes use of paraprosdokians spoken in a wandering falsetto tone of voice. The confused, childlike delivery of his material produces the intended comic timing in a manner invoking the "wisdom of children" or the idiot savant.
The character of Emo Philips is widely known for his unique look and on-stage antics, appearing as a fidgety, possibly mentally disturbed, nervous but highly intelligent individual with an obsession for coleslaw. Philips constantly moves throughout the routine, often shifting from sitting to standing positions, wandering from end to end on stage, playing with his hair or clothing, or going as far as to partially undress as he delivers punchlines. His comedy, which is largely self-deprecating and ironic, is often delivered in a modulated falsetto. His look (occasionally described as geeky, disco and vaudeville-inspired), particularly his hair—a 1970s-style bob with straight-lined front fringe—has been a signature part of his appearance and act for most of his career.
Philips has recorded three comedy albums. His album E=mo², recorded live at Caroline's in Manhattan, New York City, won the 1985 New Music Award for best comedy album. It was later re-released along with his Live at the Hasty Pudding Theatre album on a single CD. He also released an album called Emo in 2001. A joke of his was voted funniest religious joke ever in a 2005 online poll. In 2006, he appeared at the Newbury Comedy Festival. He was included in the top 50 of E4's 100 Greatest Comedians, and also appeared number 54 on Channel 4's top 100 greatest standups.
Aside from Philips's long career as a standup comic, he has been featured in acting roles on television series such as Miami Vice and The Weird Al Show. In 2006, he appeared on British television, as a guest on the panel game 8 Out of 10 Cats. Philips has several voiceover credits, including work on the animated series Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist; Home Movies; Space Ghost Coast to Coast; Adventure Time as Cuber the mysterious storyteller; and the voice of Dooper in the animated series Slacker Cats. Philips has also appeared on 4 episodes of @midnight, in February 2015, April 8, 2016, a 1990s themed episode on September 26, 2016, and the finale episode on August 4, 2017.
He has appeared in feature films including 1989's UHF (as Joe Earley, a rather clumsy school shop teacher who accidentally saws his thumb off) and Desperation Boulevard in 1998. Additionally, he appeared in the original 1992 version of Meet the Parents (also executive producer) and was an associate producer of the 2000 remake.
Around 2001, Philips began to appear more often after a hiatus in the 1990s. His look was drastically altered, appearing more "new millennium" rather than his signature bob and 1970s casual disco look. Now embracing salt & pepper spiked up grey hair and dressed in black active sportswear, Philips delivered the same comedy routine but with a much more subdued persona. Though still fidgety, Philips no longer carried random props or undressed himself as he used to. Like most of the Reagan Era comedians, Philips felt the need to adapt to changing times and styles of the flourishing digital age in an effort to stay relevant to younger audiences, particularly later year Generation X and Millennials who comprised the majority of college populations during the early part of the 2000s.
Philips only carried this appearance for a few years, retiring it in 2005 and emerging back on the comedy circuit around 2010 with his classic look and persona. He has experienced a considerable resurgence in popularity since then and has been a featured performer at many national comedy tours over the last several years, appearing at the Moontower Comedy Festival in Austin, Texas, and appearing frequently on 24/7 Comedy.
"Weird Al" Yankovic and Philips toured together throughout the US in 2018, in Yankovic's Ridiculously Self-Indulgent, Ill-Advised Vanity Tour.
- 1985: E=mo²
- 1987: Live at the Hasty Pudding Theatre
- 2001: Emo
- 2003: E=mo² plus the Entire Live at the Hasty Pudding Theatre
|1989||Journey to the Center of the Earth||Nimrod|
|1992||Meet the Parents||Video Store Clerk||Also screenwriter and executive producer|
|1992||The Can Man||The Can Man||Short film|
|1995||The Fan||Screenwriter; direct-to-video|
|1998||Desperation Boulevard||Unknown role|
|2000||Meet the Parents||Associate producer; remake of the 1992 film|
|2006||Relative Strangers||Guest at Hoedown|
|2008||The Seventh Python||Himself||Documentary|
|2014||Rise of the Kitchen Appliances||Blender (voice)||Short film|
|2015||American Dirtbags||Gundealer's Brother-in-Law|
|2020||Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Candace Against the Universe||Meeks Servant||Voice role|
|TBA||Under the Smogberry Trees||Himself||Documentary|
|1984–89||Late Night with David Letterman||Himself||Five episodes|
|1985||Miami Vice||Rat Race Contestant||Episode: "Phil the Shill"|
|1986||The Bob Monkhouse Show||Himself||Episode: #3.6|
|1987||Emo Philips Live! at the Hasty Pudding Theatre||Himself||TV special|
|1987||Stand-Up America||Himself||One episode|
|1987||The Max Headroom Show||Himself||Episode: #1.5|
|1987||The Secret Policeman's Third Ball||Himself||TV special|
|1987||Showtime at the Apollo||Himself||Episode: #1.7|
|1988||Howard Stern's Negligeé and Underpants Party||Himself||TV film|
|1988||2nd Annual American Comedy Awards||Himself||TV special|
|1989||The Hippodrome Show||Himself||Episode: #1.5|
|1989–90||The Arsenio Hall Show||Himself||Two episodes|
|1990||The Lowdown||Himself||Episode: "Making People Laugh"|
|1990||Emo Philips: Comedian and Mammal||Himself||TV special|
|1991||Molson Canadian Comedy Releaf||Himself||TV special|
|1991||Amnesty International's Big 30||Himself||TV special|
|1995–96||Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist||Emo (voice)||Two episodes|
|1997||The Weird Al Show||Dr. Philips / The Slawmeister||Two episodes|
|1998||It's All About the Pentiums||Office Guy||Music video|
|1998||Space Ghost Coast to Coast||Himself||Episode: "Curses"|
|1999||Behind the Music||Himself||Episode: "Weird Al Yankovic"|
|1999–2004||Home Movies||Shannon (voice)||Three episodes|
|2001||Late Show with David Letterman||Himself||Episode: "October 5, 2001"|
|2002||Late Friday||Himself||Episode: #2.12|
|2004||The World Stands Up||Himself||One episode|
|2004–05||Late Night with Conan O'Brien||Himself||Two episodes|
|2005||Just for Laughs||Himself||Two episodes|
|2006||8 Out of 10 Cats||Himself||Episode: #3.7|
|2007||Scott Bateman Presents: Scott Bateman Presents||Himself||Episode: "One"|
|2007||100 Greatest Stand-Ups||Himself||TV special|
|2007–09||Slacker Cats||Dooper (voice)||10 episodes|
|2010||Iron Core Talk||Himself||One episode|
|2012–16||Adventure Time||Cuber / Flour Demon (voice)||Six episodes|
|2014||TripTank||Karl (voice)||One episode|
|2016||Funny as Hell||Himself||Episode: #6.6|
|2017||Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom||Writer; episode: "Welcome to Ben's Palace"|
|2017||SXSW Comedy with Natasha Leggero: Part 2||Himself||TV special|
|2017–19||Welcome to the Wayne||Dennis O'Bannon (voice)||Six episodes|
|2018||Hunky Boys Go Ding-Dong||Cecil||TV film|
|2019||Le Lineup du Bordel||Himself||Two episodes|
|2019||Crashing||Himself||Episode: "The Viewing Party"|
|2015||Adventure Time: Finn & Jake Investigations||Cuber (voice)|
- Freeman, Zach (August 17, 2017). "At Zanies, a still hysterical Emo Philips shows why he's Emo Philips". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
- Dessau, Bruce (August 6, 2001). "Remember Emo Philips?". The Guardian. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
- Rossi, Melissa (October 1985). "Extraterrestrial comic? Nerd god? Or less?". Spin. p. 13.
- Philips, Emo (29 September 2005). "The best God joke ever - and it's mine!". The Guardian. London. Retrieved Jan 10, 2009.
- ""Slacker Cats" Coming to ABC Family". Archived from the original on 2007-06-11. Retrieved 2006-07-13.
- "Emo Philips". imdb.com. Retrieved 11 January 2016.
- "Weird Al's facebook page". facebook.com. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
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