Philip Cohen has only performed stand up three times. That’s it. And all of those times were at this year’s Charleston Comedy Festival Stand-Up Competition — which he happened to win. (And you can see video of his routine here.)
At the stand-up competition, Cohen expected to at least land in second place and was worried that he blew it when he didn’t hear his name called as runner-up. But it worked out. “It was amazing. I got $1,000 for talking about vagina,” he laughs. “It was pretty much unstoppable, the best day of my life. It was outrageous.”
His performance this Thursday at Stand Up Get Down — which also includes Shon Kennedy, David Corley, and Big Ike and is hosted by David “Apples” Appleton — is his first featured show. “I’m still really brand new, so I feel like I’m just learning everything,” he says. “I think for me, and maybe for anyone, nerves are a really big thing to overcome. What had prevented me from doing stand up my whole life was just that it was terrifying.” So despite having only done three shows, Cohen increased his level of comfort with performing at each one.
He tries not to get super rehearsed or formulaic with his comedy and thinks that his organic style is what makes him funny. Though new to performing, he has been inadvertently writing comedy for most of his life, so he has tons to pull from. Since the show’s at Club Light, he’s probably going to stay away from the heavier topics, keeping it simple with “high-brow penis and vagina jokes.” He’ll talk about relationships and the homeless, and might breach some social commentary.
“I believe that comedy is an arena where people are still listening,” he says. “So if you’re a Republican or a Democrat or whatever you are, people tend to put all of those away when they go to watch stand up, and they’re not as intellectually stubborn.”