Henry Phillips meant to be a musician. "I used to do a bunch of songs in coffeehouses that were real songs that I was really proud of. But the reality is they just sort of blended in like wallpaper. That's a frustrating feeling," he says. And then he stumbled onto something. "I started putting funny lyrics to the songs, and it took a turn. I really enjoyed it." One unexpected career later, Phillips has a lengthy list of TV credits, including his own Comedy Central Presents, and stars in an autobiographical feature film, Punching the Clown. He screened Clown locally at this year's Sound Unseen film festival but was last in town playing tunes to warm up the State Theatre for Mike Birbiglia. Phillips thinks the distinction between musician and comedian may be diminishing. "Mainstream music has a lot more novelty in the subject matter, people like Ben Folds, Offspring; they say things that sound like comedy in their lyrics. It's become kind of melded together, but I always lean toward just getting laughs. I play comedy clubs and hang out with comedians and that seems to be pretty much my life, and I'm enjoying it." So what's the difference between musicians and comics? "Comedians are kind of a crazy bunch," Phillips says. "Musicians are a little cooler." Wednesday's performance is sold out. 18+.
Feb. 2-6, 8 p.m.; Feb. 5-6, 10:30 p.m., 2010