It was somewhere between winter and spring in Anderson, SC. I was a new comic. Brand spanking new. Nick Shaheen had started up a venue in Anderson, at a place I knew pretty well, The Fox. I love The Fox. My beloved actress friend Tamara McNealy had introduced me to The Fox as the go-to hang out post plays, and it had always been a favorite place of mine. They have beautiful dark wood interior and yellow curry and a bulldog named Winston who greets the customers.
As a stand-up, The Fox has some interesting characteristics. It has a hot mic and an extra bright light in your eyes and it is the only place I’ve died on stage. (Twice, no less.) Dying on stage is pretty amazing. I highly recommend it. You’ll be pretty convinced you’re actually dying. The flop sweat, the heart rate, all that good stuff. You never feel more alive than when you feel close to death.
As a newborn comic having my near-death experiences at The Fox, I met a man named Moo-Moo. Moo-Moo is a big man, and he put pratfalls into his act. I’ll never forget the delight on Shaheen’s face as he watched Moo-Moo’s comedy. It was a magical. Moo-Moo’s comedy is unapologetic, loud, raucous. Moo-Moo the man is unfailingly kind, unfailingly encouraging, unfailingly respectful. As a new comic, maybe even especially a new female comic in the Deep South, kind comics like Moo-Moo are worth their weight in gold. You’re hanging by a thread in those first weeks, struggling and unsure, and no matter how much bravado you put out there, you want to hear somebody say they saw you, recognized your existence. Moo-Moo saw me. It meant a lot.
Months passed, I settled into the scene. I heard legends about Moo-Moo. About his past on Last Comic Standing, about another reality show from the recent past, about his time as a touring comic. Moo-Moo had a bigger than life quality to him, which is part of why it hit me hard when I heard from Nick Shaheen that Moo-Moo was in the hospital. Leukemia. No joke, hardcore chemo sort of leukemia. Shaheen and I paid Moo-Moo a visit. The spirit of the man lived on unabated. He told us about a new opportunity, a reality show with The Discovery Channel. A week later, I visited again with Tom Emmons, and heard again about all the exciting things he had waiting for him.
All he needed to do was beat cancer.
Moo-Moo is out of the hospital now. On Tuesday, he will make his debut on The Discovery Channel. A bunch of us who love and support him will be there at The Fox to watch his new show. He’s had a heck of a year. One filled with extreme highs and lows. I can relate, only Moo-Moo’s life took the intensity up to eleven.
Chris “Moo-Moo” Phillips is a force to be reckoned with. He is a man who has seen and experienced a lot, learned a lot, and has wisdom to share. I am honored to call him a friend. For all the local people reading this, I hope you join us this Tuesday at The Fox – to have a great time, to watch Moo-Moo’s show, and to celebrate everything he has accomplished as a comic, an entertainer, and as a man without any quit in him.