Ep. 15 - Anna Phillips Stands Up for Redheads


Is she Syracuse’s favorite Baltimore comedian, or Baltimore’s favorite Syracuse comedian? Probably both, but either way, Anna Phillips is a force to be reckoned with onstage. Dan and Anna talk about how to make a joke with a really long setup work, using Anna’s poetry joke as an example, and then Dan shares a joke he’s been working on that takes four minutes to get nowhere.

Before getting to that, however, Dan shares some exciting news about Kurtis Blow, who (I must remind the listener) went to college with Dan. They discuss meeting each other and Anna relates the time she shunned Phoebe Robinson with the best of intentions, a strategy Dan recognizes from an classic John Lithgow movie. They talk about adjusting their material to the needs of the audience in real time, and the dangers of blaming a badly received joke on the audience.

Dan busts out some old one-liners, but then shifts gears to telling Anna a long, meandering joke about a fictional childhood experience when he built an elaborate Lego town with a remarkably dramatic history. Meanwhile, Anna is working on jokes about the marginalization of redheads, and a homeless man who kissed her on the cheek. They also talk about the challenges of performing jokes that touch on the topic of religion. All throughout, their joke-writing really serves as a loose framework in which they continue to discuss how to gear one’s material to specific audiences. It’s a lot of fun!

Dan Kapr