The British comedy scene will be a sadder place next Saturday night when award winning laughmonger Phil Cool retires from touring after nearly 40 years in the business.
And the venue he’s chosen to tell his last on stage joke? The Maltings in Berwick.
The venue will host the last date of Phil’s last ever tour and as you’d expect for a man who fronted hit shows ‘Cool it’ and ‘Cool Head’ to great acclaim and can morph into the guises of Bill Clinton and Tina Turner in a nano second, his performance is a sell out.
But true to his second name, Phil is keeping cool, calm and collected about the whole thing, saying he was looking forward to saying goodbye to hours on the road.
“The travelling got me down,” he admitted.
“You’ve heard of Seasick Steve? I’d have been Carsick Phil!
“I’m quite relieved to be saying goodbye to all the long car journeys.
“I imagine that I’ll feel quite relieved when I step off the stage in Berwick.
“I’m 65 now and I can’t wait to just laze about.”
Phil experienced a completely different emotion when he set foot on stage in a theatre for the first time.
Riding on the crest of a wave after the small screen success of ‘Cool It’, Phil lined up an appearance at Leeds Grand Theatre and packed the place out.
“Early in my career I played working men’s clubs, strip joints, weddings, the lot and I dreamed of being like Billy Connolly and Jasper Carrott,” he continued.
“Those guys were filling large venues and I wanted a piece of it.
“So stepping out onto the stage in Leeds and seeing a full house, with people even standing at the back was amazing. That was without a doubt the most memorable moment in my career. Nothing has topped how I felt that night.”
That’s quite a bold statement given that Phil has appeared at the London Palladium in front of Charles & Diana; performed at the Royal Variety Performance and at a comedy club on LA’s legendary Sunset Boulevard.
And the fact he’s been asked to do such gigs is testament to the hilarity of his act, with Stephen Merchant recently saying one of Phil’s sketches was the funniest thing he’s ever seen.
“I like to keep my audiences on their toes,” he explained.
“The current show is two hours of absolutely all sorts.I’m not one of these comedians that just do impression after impression. Alistair McGowan came along to one of my shows recently and said the funniest bit was when I do a ventriloquist routine but without a dummy. I play both the ventriloquist and his dummy!”