To say it’s a rarity that a musician is inspired to write a song about a comedian would be an understatement. And that’s why this just-released song about universally respected comedian Emo Philips is such an endearing, thoughtful tribute. Written and performed by musician Henning Ohlenbusch, who once opened for Philips, the song – simply titled “Emo Philips” — is a delicate guitar ballad tastefully peppered with piano. In two minutes, Ohlenbusch deftly encapsulates the spirit of Philips, known for his understated and absolutely warped joke writing.
Apparently Ohlenbusch heard through Philips’ booking agent the comedian asked if the musician would write a song about him. Ohlenbusch said of course!
“I decided pretty early on that it would be useless and ultimately not very interesting to try to make a funny song,” Ohlenbusch says about the writing process. “Instead, I focused on this image in my head of Philips’ sad, innocent facial expressions.”
And Ohlenbusch delivers for sure. You can listen to the song below (we’ve lovingly transcribed the lyrics to enhance your experience).
Just when we got our bearings straight, we took this sudden strange left turn. How’d we end up here? Emo led the way…Emo…
We tried to catch a rising star, on our parents VCR. Letterman next day, we all heard David say…. Emo…
A continental breakfast in another hotel lobby. All those years ago did they say it’s just a hobby? After the first night did you think that it would last? A whole life spent making people laugh.
And when each evening ends, Emo stands alone on the stage and thanks us for being his friend… Then he heads out on the road again.
“I will never, ever, ever, write funnier, darker, more disturbing more inappropriate and 100 percent clean jokes than Emo Philips. Good God,” Patton Oswalt once said of the veteran comedian.
“Emo Philips” is available for streaming and download at: