Actor/Comedian


Jay Phillips

After getting his start in a most unlikely place –a Bahamian karaoke show--- actor/comedian Jay Phillips hasn’t looked back since.

This month, Ms. Bridgé had the pleasure of sitting down and talking with Jay about his career, his current projects and his aspirations. This witty DC native has done it all- The late late show, Kimmell Live, and Show Time's much talked about Big Black Comedy Show, not to mention WXYZ Baltimore Morning Show's- and he isn't stopping there so bring it on.

Jay Phillips--- not only is he hilarious and upbeat; he’s a great guy in person---a true gentleman and genius of comedy. It was an absolute honor meeting him.

Meet Jay Phillips….Up close and personal……..


Ms. Bridgé: How did you get started in the business?
Answer: I started out as a big comedy fan. I grew up watching Saturday Night Live… and one day I just figured I would give it a shot. Actually, the final straw was watching Def Comedy Jam when they used to do the New Years Eve special and would play all the Def Comedy Jams back to back all night long—that--made me want to give it a shot. I vacationed in the Bahamas, when I was there I lied to the resort staff and told them I was Def Comic, so they put me in this room full of people doing karaoke and I made folks laugh so I kept doing it and haven’t stopped since.

Ms. Bridgé: At what age did you know show biz was for you and who influenced you the most?
Answer: I started when my oldest son was born about 15 years ago, but I didn't know I would do it full time until the year 2000. I started traveling the country and once I started making more money on the weekend telling jokes than I was making during the week I figured it made more sense for me to do stand up. That's what I did until I moved to California in 2003 when I started to pursue acting.

Ms. Bridgé: Did you practice your jokes on family and friends?
Answer: No I did it the regular old standard way you walk around with your note pad and any thing that’s funny gets written down. Also, when you go to open mike nights that's setup all over the country and go on stage, to test if all your jokes are good enough to take to “the good stage.” (We both laughed)

Ms. Bridgé: The first time you did stand up comedy what was the response?
Answer: Ah... lets see I was in the Bahamas karaoke night I told three jokes and the first two worked ok, the third one worked pretty good and then they started getting restless and somebody in the crowd yelled out something [about Bill Clinton] (and when they yell out something you know you're doing your thing!) I talked about that guy [Bill Clinton] for three or four minutes and everybody laughed real hard and I came off stage and I haven't looked back since.

Ms. Bridgé: Could you tell us one of the jokes?
Answer: Let me see, it was a Bill Clinton joke. I remember Bill Clinton was about to get elected or just got elected and every body was all hyped on Bill Clinton (like they are now with Obama). It was a Bill Clinton weed joke. I don't remember exactly what it was but it definitely had something to do with the president smoking some dope!

Ms. Bridgé: I just saw the episode with you on Kath and Kim and when I was watching you I had a feeling you were having a difficult time trying to keep a straight face. Is that true because it was pretty funny?
Answer: No actually it was just a.... it was a fun show to be on, they're real relaxed over there. It's new, so everybody there is on pins and needles because every body is excited about it. Everybody is just having so much fun, it's just like a new relationship. You know, you go in there you don't really know if what you are doing is right yet because there’s no really right or wrong yet. So you try and build a mood for the show.... it makes you test the character a little bit more, you know.

Ms. Bridgé: I thought the scene with the stripper was one of the funniest. What's one of your funniest scenes?
Answer: My favorite episode of Kath and Kim is when Wynona Ryder was on the show, which was real cool. It put me outside of my box a little bit since I had to sing country music. It’s kind of how hip hop artists go after their dream by selling their tapes. We’re trying to get country music listened to--- like it was a demo tape for hip hop music. So, that was kind of cool-- putting that little twist on that episode.

Ms. Bridgé: Do you find it easier do stand up or working on set?
Answer: Stand up. I really don’t consider it like something I have to work on and I'm treading lightly when I say that. I write jokes everyday and I perform probably five or six times a week. There’s no better joy than being on set. I enjoy doing the movie sets because they are a little bit more relaxed, the days are longer but you're kind of settled into a character or a scene day in and day out. You get a good fellowship your cast and crew and it's just real cool. I'm as happy with that’s as I am when I'm on stage at night by myself since it’s a straight solo shot. There's no band behind you, no favorite song, there isn't anything. It's just people paying attention to what you are saying. So honestly I believe my job is both, I really don't separate the two.

Ms. Bridgé: What do you think you offer that most comedians and actors don't?
Answer: I think I'm a very good actor with up swing, I'm still learning alot. I’m starting to delve into drama roles now, so when it comes to acting I'll be able to bring cool and naturally funny in my own perspective ---it would different from how Mike Epps would play it. It would be different from how Kevin Hart would play and Kat Williams or anyone else. I'd be able to bring a different type of funny to the acting and with the stage. I'm a story teller and I like to act out jokes and stuff like that, so I figure sometimes my acting ability helps me command the stage a little bit more when I'm doing stand up so, they kind of all work together

Ms. Bridgé: Earlier you mentioned you wanted to get into drama. What type of drama, love story a thriller what?
Answer: Hmm... I did a thriller already, I did Prom Night and I also just finished doing a TV drama with Donald Sutherland called the Eastman’s--- it's a medical drama.

Ms. Bridgé: What actors would you like to work with the most?
Answer: I loved to work with Will Feral again. Onin Wilson, I would definitely like to work with Don Shill, Bruce Willis. I would love to do something with Bruce Willis and Seth Logan.

Ms. Bridgé: And females actress?
Answer: All of these are probably for selfish reasons…(smile), I would love to do something with, Halle Berry, Maggie Good,--- Sirodge Henson is one of my favorites at well. In fact, I'm on my way in a little while to do a reading with America Ferra for up coming film… we'll see what happens after today.

Ms. Bridgé: If you weren’t an actor or comedian, what do you thing you would be doing?
Answer: I would probably be miserable some where. (I couldn't help but laugh) hmm… I used to be a graphic artist, I went to school for that so I do have an art background; I went to Maryland institute College of Art. I used to do logo work, graphic arts and print shop I would still be doing that kind of stuff --working at a print shop or design firm somewhere giving away my creativity.

Ms. Bridgé: What's your favorite pastime?
Answer: Ah... lets see besides hanging out with the family, I play some basket ball I go to the gym and workout and stay in shape. I'm still an old grown man in boy’s body ‘cause when the brand new Many comes out in just a little while I'll probably try and have that a week or two before it comes out. I'm a video game head. I'm a tech junky. So I keep working to support my tech habit. All the new stuff that comes out I gotta have it. I just need it I don't know what's wrong with me (we both laughed).


Ms. Bridgé: I understand exactly what you mean. I have my Nintendo and Play station too. It kind of keeps you sane and relaxed.
Mr. Phillips: It definitely does. I play alot of sports games and it gives me a chance to interact with my buddies online and play people online so we kinda all stay hooked up. It's all man stuff. You know when you get old and grown you can't go out and play basket ball no more so we turn the video games on and we do stuff we could never image doing for real!

Ms. Bridgé: Are you a very spiritual person and if so how does it influence your life?
Answer: Well I am. I'm not a person that goes to church on Sundays as I should, but I do have a relationship with The Man. I'm a quiet person so I do alot of talking to myself and [as far as I’m concerned] as long as you are not doing it out loud you're talking to The Man. So that's kinda how I get through my days most of the time. I like to read this specific prayer called the pray which I normally do once or twice throughout the day or before I'm about to do something creative. Yeah so I guess you can consider that spiritual.

Ms. Bridgé: It's been said that laughter keeps you young. Do you agree with that and if so why?
Answer: Yes it does. If you associate old with something it will be a grumpy old man grumpy old lady. If you’re happy and you're smiling and you’re laughing it’s contagious. So when you are doing that it keeps you active; it perks you up. If you want to get technical every time you laugh your release endorphins into your body that makes you feel good. When you feel good you feel happy and you’re not frowning and if you are not frowning you can't get wrinkles in your face. (Laughing)

Ms. Bridgé: When we met I found you to be pleasant, warm, kind, and approachableHow do you remain humble and not let the celebrity status to go to your head, like others do?
Answer: I guess my first way around is that I don't consider myself to be a celebrity. I got a cool job, I get to act like other people and make folks laugh for a minute, which obviously brings people around. I feel like I have so much more work to do in order to become what I would like to become, the bar has been rising so high that I don't feel like I have the right to act like that. I look at the body of work that Richard Pyrier has put out, and the body of work that Eddie Murphy has putout. Then if you want to go with the younger folks, like the body of work Mike Epps has and Cheber Heart who are both younger than me and doing so well. There’s alot of people in there that are above me in stature not necessarily in talent but just in notability and that type of thing. So I have alot of work to do, and so I welcome talking to anybody who's a fan of what I do. Because I'm a fan of the whole business so I can talk shop with folks all day I have no problem with that type of stuff. I can see how people could not want to talk about those things when they get off work. I have my days when it comes to stuff like that to but for the most part I still love it. The job looks easy but there is so much works that goes into it that I don't really get the chance to go do celebrity “stuff”, so I guess that kind of keep me humble.

Ms. Bridgé: What advice would you give to young people who dream of becoming an actor or comedian?
Answer: The first thing is to know what it is you want to do; whether you try or not is really on you. You have no one to punish but yourself at the end of your life. I'd hate to be approaching 40 years old and saying “Wow! Hmm... wish I could have did this while I was going through life” I thought about doing this when I was 19 and 20 years old and I actually got into it when I was 20 and 21 years old. I believed that every thing that you want to do is possible, pretty much. You know everything is not for every body so at least you gave it a shot. You wanna come do you, but you may not like being told “no” a hundred times before you get told yes once. Some people can't handle that, but more people can because they know that the pay off for that one is being able to do whatever you want do whenever you want to do it for the rest of your life. And I fight for those chances. That's what I believe in. And it works. I'm here.


Jay Phillips @ The Hollywood Improv
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Credits

The Eastmans (2009) (TV) (post-production) .... Male Nurse - "Kath & Kim" .... Derrick (5 episodes, 2008-2009)
- Bachelorette (2009) TV episode .... Derrick - - Celebrity (2009) TV episode .... Derrick
- Idols (2009) TV episode .... Derrick - - Friends (2008) TV episode .... Derrick
- Jealousy (2008) TV episode .... Derrick - Baby Mama (2008) .... Boo-Boo Buster
Prom Night (2008/I) .... DJ Tyler - ... aka TV Dinner (Philippines: English title: review title)
Semi-Pro (2008) .... Scootsie Double Day - Man Stroke Woman (2008) (TV) .... Various Characters
"Weekends at the DL" .... D. Run / ... (2 episodes, 2005) - - Episode #1.18 (2005) TV episode .... D. Run
- Episode #1.12 (2005) TV episode .... Stand-up Comedian - "The Shield" .... Jamani (1 episode, 2005)
New Line Cinema's Semi-Pro - 2008
- A Thousand Deaths (2005) TV episode .... Jamani - Holla If I Kill You (2003) (V) .... Earl the Clean-up Guy
The Watermelon Heist (2003) .... Assistant Pimp - more info


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