Icing: Henry Phillips’ NEITHER HERE NOR THERE Is Just The Comedy Punch You Need

Henry Phillips

Music does indeed soothe the savage beast and when paired with comedy it can melt your heart and bring a smile to your entertainment deprived face. HENRY PHILLIPS isn’t just any musical comedian. He’s actually a trained musician that happened to use his amazing skills to start an enviable comedy career. We talked to Henry (yes, I’m getting chummy because nobody’s gonna stop me) about his newest comedy album NEITHER HERE NOR THERE. During the interview Henry finally gets to answer a question that he’s rarely asked, specifically “how long has he been playing guitar?” The answer may astound you. Equally so, his new album, performed at the Lyric Theatre in his hometown of Los Angeles, will renew your faith in musical comedy. The performances include standup, music, and some the very special guests Mark Cohen and Audrey Tess. This album perfectly represents Henry’s brand of charming, sometimes naughty, but always moving comedy. Very soon you’ll be humming to tunes like “Oops,” “Guitar Pill,” and “The Bitch Song.” I promise! You may be familiar with Henry’s tutorial cooking series on YouTube, Henry’s Kitchen. In addition, to getting nitty gritty about the album we cover that tasty topic, as well as his upcoming projects. Please purchase Phillip’s album even before you read this interview. It’s that good!

Henry Phillips

COMEDY CAKE: This is the time when I get all up in your sh*t, . No joke, I listened to “Neither Here Nor There” with a painful muscle spasm in my neck while some Olympian won their umpteenth gold medal. So, suffice it to say, an album that caters to us underdogs is just what the doctor ordered. What’s the most messed up situation you’ve been in that you later cleverly transformed into comedy?

HENRY PHILLIPS: I suppose it would be from the standup portion, where I talk about “what girls shouldn’t say” during sex. I had a girlfriend once who would always refer to sexual situations in the plural, like “I like when people touch me there” or “I hope everybody doesn’t see my vagina and say…” That bit is an example of something that went straight from my private life to my act, and I wish I had 100 more of those.

CAKE: You’ve no doubt answered every question under the sun promoting comedy albums. What’s a question you’d like to be asked which never makes the roster? (This may backfire on me big time.)

PHILLIPS: I’m a little bummed that nobody asks how long I’ve been playing guitar. The answer is 38 years now. And in my song “Guitar Pill”, I try to demonstrate most of what I can do. It’s like having a relic of an old dream of mine represented in what became my career.

CAKE: Mark Cohen and Audrey Tess join you for a couple tracks on this new album. What do you enjoy the most working with fellow artists?

PHILLIPS: I love when it’s somebody that I’m a fan of, which is the case with both of them. Mark is a legend in the standup seen, and it’s fun to have our different styles mix. And Audrey does a great job “playing it straight” on our duet. Collaborating works best with good friends, I think. And they both certainly are!

CAKE: This album was released on Audible Channels prior to a widespread release. What’s your preferred method of listening to both comedy and music?

PHILLIPS: As a guy who travels for a living, I will say that I catch a lot of the comedy channels on satellite radio in the rental car, and I love it. But when it comes to music, nothing beats going into a bar or a club and hearing a cool song playing and just Shazamming it. That’s how I’m being introduced to all new music nowadays.

CAKE: What percentage of “hapless character” scenarios are grounded in Henry’s reality?

PHILLIPS: I’d say, 60? There doesn’t seem to be a day that goes by that something embarrassing or awkward doesn’t happen, and once I start laughing about it, it will become exaggerated and put into my act. I have always felt that failure was hilarious. I used to love watching Garry Shandling talk about his pathetic dating life in his stand up, or watching Albert Brooks in movies like “Modern Romance.” To me, pathos was always pretty much synonymous with humor. and as soon as I am lucky enough to fail miserably and hilariously, I write it down.

CAKE: Hands down, my favorite song off the album has to be “Oops” because it points out the fallibility in us all, yet inspires listeners to keep trucking in spite of personal failures & mistakes. Which tracks would win gold, silver and bronze in the Henry Phillip’s Comedy Olympics and why?

PHILLIPS: Thanks, I really like “Oops”, I think because it has a jazzy up tempo feel, but kind of dark lyrics. Let’s call that silver, and bronze I guess would be my “Elevator Story.” And the gold would have to go to “Point Mugu,” a personal favorite.

CAKE: Are there ever times when you’re having a low moment and you go back to your old material for a pick me up? I can totally see this happening with your “End of the World” track in the future.

PHILLIPS: Ha, yeah I guess the “End of the World” song is sort of an ironic pick-me-up. I think Comedy songs are a living breathing art form, and they never really go away, you just start finding more and more ways to make them funny. Another one I’ll revisit and update now and then is “Sweet Little Blossom.”

CAKE: Have you received any disgruntled e-mails about “The Bitch Song” yet? I personally think that bitterness is totally justified and presented in the most delightful way. What do you think the comedy world would be like without bad breakup material?

PHILLIPS: “The “Bitch song” came from a very specific conversation that a friend of mine and I were having about our mutual friend’s girlfriend. She was just very mean. And no matter how hard we tried to come up with something that might’ve made her that way, we couldn’t. And we ended up with the conclusion that “somehow, she’s just a bitch.” In terms of grumpy emails, I certainly haven’t had that. Although it’s true the word ‘bitch’ has become a bit passé. It’s supposed to be a nod to Billy Joel’s “Always a Woman”, so I guess in the Comedy world, imagining that guy singing about the girl being a bitch, seems to fit nicely.

CAKE: Here’s some questions for fans of your cooking series “Henry’s Kitchen”: how long do you want to keep making the series? What’s your favorite recipe to make irl?

PHILLIPS: I will be making those forever. They are a great outlet for me, my music, my one-liners, and just my sense of humor. It started as something I was doing for fun while waiting for the phone to ring, and now that the series has several million views, it’s turned into a bit of a career boost. My favorite recipe hands down was my vegan-free gluten pizza.

CAKE: What upcoming projects can you divulge that you’re hard at work on? We’re crossing our fingers for more albums.

PHILLIPS: Thanks! I will always be recording my material, it’s a platform I grew up with, and I enjoy the process. I’m starting to get into recording audio for animated content, which I’ll be doing a lot more of toward the end of 2016. I also have a feature movie coming out, I called And Punching the Clown, a sequel to the 2008 cult movie Greg Viens and I made called Punching the Clown. Oh, and more cooking!

Mentions: Pick up Neither Here Nor There on all digital stores where album are sold. Get some tasty Henry’s Kitchen recipes HERE.