Comedian Phil Palisoul answers 7
Hecklers are a way of life for most comedians. But not Phil Palisoul, who says he rarely gets badgered by anyone in his audiences, likely because of his self-effacing style of humor.
“My whole act is about how I wish I were bigger, stronger, braver, more handsome,” said Palisoul, who will perform Saturday at the Back Bowl in Eagle. “A heckler has nowhere to go with me but… ‘Yeah! I agree!!’ And that’s not a fun thing to yell out as a heckler.”
Palisoul was the first act to grace the Back Bowl’s stage almost four years ago. In his 20 years on the stage, he’s performed at some well-known festivals, like HBO-Aspen Comedy Festival and the Las Vegas Comedy Festival, as well as some of the best known clubs in the country such as the iconic Improv in L.A. and New York and the Comedy Works in Denver. His well-polished stand-up routine has landed him numerous television appearances including NBC’s Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central’s Premium Blend and one of comedy’s ultimate rewards – the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He took the time to answers a few questions for the Vail Daily.
1. Vail Daily: When did you know you wanted to be a comedian?
Phil Palisoul: I knew I wanted to be funny from the first moment I laid eyes on it. Just seeing regular people getting big laughs from nothing more than words was enough for me. It wasn’t athletics, didn’t require genius brainpower. Just clever words strung together in a humorous way.
2. VD: What is your favorite place/venue to perform in?
PP: I like pretty much everywhere I get to perform, but there are some special ones. Las Vegas resorts are very nice. And in just a few weeks I’ll be heading to the Oasis of the Seas, the largest cruise ship in the world. Over 6,000 guests and more than 3,500 crew.
And of course, bowling alleys in the mountains. Those are also quite memorable.
3. VD: Who is your favorite comedian(s) to watch and why?
PP: I enjoy watching a lot of my peers work today, and any really, good comedian can make me laugh, but I don’t think that anybody now or anybody to come will surpass the comedians who came before all this and introduced me to the art of comedy. Pretty sure I’ll never laugh as hard as I did when I was a kid hearing the routines of Bill Cosby, George Carlin, Bob Newhart, Richard Pryor and Steve Martin for the first time.
4. VD: How did you get in the business?
PP: I got into the business after years of saying I wanted to. I finally went down to the Comedy Works in Denver (a club I can still be found in on any given night of a week when I’m home), did an open mic set and I was immediately hooked. I worked my way through the beginnings of a career and 20 years later …
5. VD: Tell me about a recent routine you wrote and what inspired it?
PP: A favorite new bit is about what to do if confronted by a mountain lion and it was inspired by real life events right here in the Mile High City.
6. VD. You’ve performed on TV numerous times (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central etc.) And opened for legendary comedians like Dennis miller, Louis Anderson and Jerry Seinfeld. What stands out in your mind as a particular coup?
PP: I’ve enjoyed working with all those acts in Las Vegas and more, like Howie Mandel, Joan Rivers, and Carrot Top. But one great night was the first time I opened for Dennis Miller. It was at the Mirage Resort, in a big beautiful room with 2,500 seats. The show was packed and I had a great show. Dennis was very nice to me. Rob Lowe came up to me after and said hello.
7. VD: What inspires your material?
All things can be looked at through the humor lens, but the things that inspire my comedy are things that are silly and funny, or just funny, or sometimes serious and funny. Mostly it has to be funny. Beyond that, I like things that are relatable.
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