Comedy at The Improv with Howie Nave: Henry Phillips, Billy Bonnell perform this week at Lake Tahoe
Special to Lake Tahoe Action
As a comedian, Phillips’ style is dry, soft spoken and subdued. The last time he was here he had quite a bit to comment on when it came to relationships — with songs such as “Maybe They Won’t Kill You” and “End of the World,” you can tell Phillips is more than sensitive. He has several CDs out that combine his bitter romantic ballads with lyrics that match his psychopathic take on love.
Phillips was mentioned in Billboard Magazine’s Critic’s Choice and received some positive feedback from notable recording artists such as Moby, who refers to Phillips’ songs as “disconcertingly funny.” The comedian has also written songs for two award-winning musicals: “Blake: the Musical” and “Chips.” Phillips’ additional credits include ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” and satellite and terrestrial radio nationwide.
His latest movie is called “Punching Henry,” a semi-biographical comedy that came out this year, and which he co-wrote with director Gregori Viens. The movie was produced by David Permut, Matt Ratner and Rick Rosenthal and stars Oscar winner J.K. Simmons, comedian Sarah Silverman, Mike Judge, Jim Jefferies, Derek Waters, Ellen Ratner, Ginger Gonzaga and stand-up comedians Tig Notaro, Nikki Glaser and Doug Stanhope. However, the flick that put Phillips on the map was “Punching the Clown,” which received the Audience Award at the prestigious Slamdance Film Festival.
On the small screen, Phillips has appeared on HBO’s “Silicon Valley” and Comedy Central’s “Drunk History.” But wait! Have you seen his YouTube show, “Henry’s Kitchen”? It includes episodes such as “How To Make Killer Oven Baked French Toast,” “How To Make Henry’s Romantic Sushi For a Date,” “Lip Smacking BBQ Beer Fish” and “How To Make Superbowl Chicken Pot Pie.” So diversified, this Phillips — he’s schizoid!
See him this weekend if you’re open to it because it’s well worth your experience.
Back for his second time in almost two years, Billy Bonnell is an interesting mix. Although originally from Cleburne, Texas, Bonnell has called San Diego home and spent the better portion of his 20s serving as an electrical technician in the United States Navy. You’d be surprised at some of the careers comedians have had before making stand-up their profession.
After graduating from Cleburne High School in 2001, Bonnell took a year off to, as he likes to say, “find himself.” “I went to Nashville and tried to get into college there, but was unsuccessful due to being lazy as s@#$,” he said.
The unmotivated Bonnell eventually ran out of money and had to move back in with his mom. When he was 19 he decided to see the world and joined the Navy. It was there he was first exposed to stand-up comedy through a fellow sailor’s Mitch Hedberg album.
“I didn’t realize people could be funny like that,” Bonnell says of his first time listening to Hedberg. “It kind of blew my mind. The things he was saying; I didn’t know what one-liners were.”
After that Bonnell suddenly became motivated to make the rounds on the San Diego open mic circuit. He moved up quickly and started entering various comedy competitions, which culminated in him winning 2010’s San Diego’s Funniest Person Contest. Since winning Bonnell has gone on to perform at clubs and colleges in Arizona, Las Vegas, Texas and New York, and was also made a regular member of The La Jolla Comedy Store’s Best of San Diego. He’s also been on Comedy Central’s “Adam Devine’s House Party.”
The Improv at Harveys takes place Wednesdays through Sundays at 9 p.m. Learn more at http://www.harveystahoe.com.