Bob Phillips brings it to TC | Characteristics

Upcoming popular podcaster and comedian at Traverse City Comedy Club
By Anna Faller | October 16, 2021

When you are part of a team of eight Catholic children, it is imperative that you find your place.

For Bob Phillips, veteran stand-up comedian and self-proclaimed stand-up comedian, this place was the hub of evening entertainment. “I was the kid who watched Johnny Carson every night just to see the comedians standing,” he says.

It is therefore not surprising that he himself took the stage. “I have become very adept at entertaining my family,” he says. “I was encouraged to be the funny kid, so it just felt natural to want to be an artist. “

Johnny Carson, eat your heart. Now a longtime humor heavyweight, Phillips has performed in countless clubs and theaters across the country. His countless appearances include Fox’s comedy series “Laughs” and “The Anthony Cumia Show with Dave Landau”.

Phillips is one half of the hugely popular podcast, “The Sal & Bob Show” starring Sal DeMillio and is a regular presence on comedy radio, including SiriusXM’s “Rawdog”, “The Foxhole” and “Jeff and Larry’s Comedy Roundup. “.

In addition to his production activities, Phillips is a contributing writer for the OG sketch comedy site, “Funny or Die,” and has released three comedy CDs to date.

On October 22, he crossed another stop off the list: that of the Traverse City Comedy Club. We spoke with him before the show – and as one of his performances, we covered a bit of everything.

What drew you to a career in acting?
I was a Golden Gloves fighter in my twenties, and to me stand-up comedy is a lot like boxing. Everything depends on you ; you win or lose on your own and no one comes to your rescue if things don’t go your way. I like this dynamic. I also like the idea of ​​transmitting (what) moves me and makes me laugh to find common points with an audience. The best shows have those magical moments of understanding where the audience is in tune with what I’m saying.

How did you know when you really did?
I started like everyone else: from the bottom. But, about 10 years ago, I started having regular bookings across the country at top clubs as a headliner. Working in Las Vegas was also very important to me, as I worked as an animator and actor for about 10 years before that. It was never about the money… but it’s rewarding to start earning a headlining salary.

What makes stand-up success so difficult?
When you are a new comedian, it is a challenge to have time on stage to perfect your acting. There are a limited number of comedy club stages, so you will need to do places like coffee shops or nightlife. ‘on a night like concerts in bars, restaurants and bowling alleys – really anywhere else someone could install a microphone. And then there is also the challenge of finding your voice by falling face down repeatedly in front of groups of strangers.

What is your strategy when you flop?
All the actors, new and experienced, collapsed on stage. It’s excruciating while this is happening, but these are the times when you learn the most and it’s in those horrific times that you forge your ability to bounce back and trust yourself. Comedy is about constantly taking risks and sometimes it just doesn’t work. So I’m going to take a new piece between proven and real material. If he doesn’t knock, I know the next one will. But the worst times on stage – and it’s only happened a few times in the past 20 years – is when you shut out. You forget the next joke or what sequence you were supposed to use and end up there with nowhere to go. It may only last a few seconds, but it feels like forever.

How do you know when you’ve found a quality song?
Most comedians think that a key part of good comedy is being relatable, but I think that’s only partly true. For me, it comes down to the idea that a good comedy is more or less reality: sometimes we embellish reality to find the funny and sometimes we take it away. Jerry Seinfeld once said, “A good joke is nothing more than a surprise. According to this logic, an act of comedy is a series of surprises that take place over an hour or so. The trick is to deliver them in a transparent and entertaining way.

So how do you deliver your surprises?
My favorite subjects tend to cause a gut reaction in people; delicate subjects which may make (the audience) a little uncomfortable for a moment, but which end up making them laugh. I like to get the audience to look at something familiar in a different way. When you are on stage and you see that you have created an “Aha! moment for 300 people, that’s when you know you’ve done your job.

Do you have essential content or routines?
On my shows, I talk about everything from my childhood and politics to dating sites and casinos – just about anything (of) interest that I can turn (into) a relatable conversation. But one of my favorite jokes is about how I gained 30 pounds during my first 40s. It’s a true story and it’s a self-writing story. It’s a six minute story, which is an eternity for a bit, but audiences are interested in it and seem to like hearing me laugh at me. But it’s not (even) my best song! You’ll have to come to the Traverse City Comedy Club to hear this one.

What advice would you give to a budding actor?
Take the stage as much as you can, in as many places as you can. I’ve played everywhere, from hockey rinks to warehouses, bowling alleys and boats. There was even a nudist camp. Keep going up on stage, even if you’re bombing. You are going to bomb. So what? Keep writing material and experimenting, and always remember that your goal is to become a professional who gets paid to entertain people. As such, you have a responsibility to give them what they pay for.

The Traverse City Comedy Club at 738 S. Garfield Rd. Welcomes famous comedian Bob Phillips on Friday, October 22 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $ 15 to $ 25; visit

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