[Editor’s note: Like last year, I’m giving you an early look at the headliners for the Limestone Comedy Festival before General Admission ($75) and Friday/Saturday Only ($50) badges go on sale April 1. VVIIPP ($175) and VIP ($125) badges are now on sale. For more on LCF — slated for May 29 to 31 in Bloomington — check next Wednesday’s Lifestyle section for the complete story. In the meantime, head to limestonefest.com.]
All three headliners of the second annual Limestone Comedy Festival helped form the bedrock of the style of comedy I have loved as long as I can remember. You know how the first few albums by bands like The Kinks, The Who and The Stooges are called “proto-punk,” meaning they were punk rock before there was punk rock? That’s what Emo Philips is to so-called “alternative” comedy.
“Everybody hates that phrase, but it’s the one that kind of sums up what we do,” said Mat Alano-Martin, LCF co-director. “Emo was a huge influence.”
I think every comedy fan around my age has entered the orbit of “Weird Al” Yankovic at some point, and Philips has worked with him for years; including co-starring in the 1989 film “UHF.”
“I will always, with zero hesitation, accept an offer from ‘Weird Al,’" Philips told me. “Al, if you're reading this: that does not include yard work.” I remember staying up late and recording episodes of the cartoons “Space Ghost Coast to Coast” and “Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist” off TV, and then watching the VHS tapes over and over. Philips starred in both, and has been an integral part in shaping my own sense of humor.
I have a 2-hour round-trip commute each day and podcasts have kept me company during such times for quite a while. Back in the mid-2000s, when I was just figuring what podcasts were, Jimmy Pardo was pioneering the art form with “Never Not Funny,” a comedy show co-starring producer Matt Belknap.