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Emo Philips

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Emo Philips
Philips in 2018
Born (1956-02-07) February 7, 1956 (age 68)
  • Actor
  • stand-up comedian
  • producer
  • writer
Years active1976–present[1]
Comedy career

Emo Philips (born Philip Soltanec, 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.[2]


The character of Emo Philips appears as a fidgety, possibly mentally disturbed, nervous but highly intelligent individual.[3] 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.[4] 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.[5] he has also appeared on four 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.[6]

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 gray hair and dressed in black active sportswear, Philips delivered the same comedy routine but with a much more subdued persona. Though still fidgety, he no longer carried random props or undressed himself as he was used to doing. Like most of the Reagan era comedians, he 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 that 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.[citation needed]

"Weird Al" Yankovic and Philips toured together throughout the US in 2018, in Yankovic's Ridiculously Self-Indulgent, Ill-Advised Vanity Tour,[7] and again in the 2022 iteration. On November 5, 2011, Emo married actress and screenwriter Kipleigh Brown.[8]


  • 1985: E=mo²
  • 1987: Live at the Hasty Pudding Theatre
  • 2001: Emo
  • 2003: E=mo² plus the Entire Live at the Hasty Pudding Theatre



Year Title Role Notes
1989 UHF Joe Earley
1989 Journey to the Center of the Earth Nimrod
1992 Meet the Parents Video Store Employee Also executive producer and writer of title theme song
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
2005 The Aristocrats Himself Documentary
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
2017 Dying Laughing Himself Documentary
2020 Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Candace Against the Universe Meeks Servant Voice role
2022 Weird: The Al Yankovic Story Salvador Dalí
TBA Stalking Emo Himself Documentary
TBA Under the Smogberry Trees Himself Documentary


Year Title Role Notes
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 Saturday Live (British TV programme) Himself Episode: #3.5
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 Review Georgie One episode
2014 TripTank Karl (voice) One episode
2016 Funny as Hell Himself Episode: #6.6
2016–17 @midnight Himself Three episodes
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"
2019 Vendors Len TV film

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2015 Adventure Time: Finn & Jake Investigations Cuber (voice)


  1. ^ Dessau, Bruce (August 6, 2001). "Remember Emo Philips?". The Guardian. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
  2. ^ "Emo Philips". www.emophilips.com. Retrieved 2022-10-23.
  3. ^ Rossi, Melissa (October 1985). "Extraterrestrial comic? Nerd god? Or less?". Spin. p. 13.
  4. ^ Philips, Emo (29 September 2005). "The best God joke ever - and it's mine!". The Guardian. London. Retrieved Jan 10, 2009.
  5. ^ ""Slacker Cats" Coming to ABC Family". Archived from the original on 2007-06-11. Retrieved 2006-07-13.
  6. ^ "Emo Philips". imdb.com. Retrieved 11 January 2016.
  7. ^ "Weird Al's facebook page". facebook.com. Archived from the original on 2022-02-26. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  8. ^ "Kipleigh Brown - IMDb". IMDb.

External links[edit]