Phil Hanley has a laid back approach to his material, which is more self-deprecating than punching up or down at anyone.
Most recently, Hanley financed and produced his latest special, “Ooh La La.” He betted on himself. It paid off and resulted in a brisk, tightly constructed 45 minutes of consistent laughs, both big and small. Hanley, who has plenty of nostalgia for his high school days of dropping acid and skateboarding in Canada, talked to us about his earliest experiences in comedy, the Grateful Dead, and dyslexia.
What work went into self-financing and producing your special?
Well, I did have a producer and my friend directed it. Russell Marcus Price directed it, but just coming up with the design for the backdrop, I taped it in one of the Comedy Cellar venues and other people had taped specials there before because they’re really generous with letting us use the venue and stuff. I wanted it to look different. I had to design, come up with the backdrop, and then hire people to build it all out. There are five cameras. I can write the jokes and perform them, but all the other stuff is just really not anything that I have a strong grasp of. It was a lot of work and then you tape two shows and edit it together, and it’s just a whole thing. It’s all new. I had done a special in Canada when I first started and I did a Comedy Central special and you just show up when you’re not doing it yourself. This way, there’s just so much going on.
What clubs did you play at in Vancouver?
Yeah, I started in Vancouver. There were tons of open mics and stuff that I did, and then there was …
Author: Jack Giroux / High Times