The Friends of Bob & Tom Show 

It takes a certain kind of individual to combine folk-rock guitar, a degree in political science, and a twisted sense of humor to make a career that utilizes all three. Only the mind of such a person could create the memorable song lyrics: "'Isn't life pretty?' Ernest Hemingway once said/ And then he put a bullet through his head/ Salvador Dali's surrealist paintings were godsent/ You'd never know he ate his own excrement/ Truman Capote, needless to say/ Would be intoxicated 24 hours a day/ From the Modern authors to the ancient Greeks/ We're standing on the shoulders of freaks."

Cutting straight to the soft, white underbelly of Western Civilization, comic Henry Phillips has the right combination of smarts and sass to take on any topic of his choosing, from annoying relationships ("She's Talking Again") to universal experiences ("Roommate From Hell"). According to his Web site, "What I take from my life, I give back through my art. So far I've taken nothing but crap." He started out mostly as a musician, but got a much better response from his comedy routine. "I've got one foot in the comedy door, and one foot in the music door," Phillips says. "So basically, I'm not really getting anywhere-I'm just humping the wall between both doors."

Citing influences as diverse as Billy Joel and Bob Newhart, Phillips has managed to become part of the musical comedic tradition that owes the debt of its existence to retired reclusive math professor Tom Lehrer, whose limited body of work in the 1950s and 1960s has remained popular on the circuit of witty ditties. This particular genre of music has been delivered across the radio airwaves to the attention of a core group of listeners by the curious Dr. Demento for over three decades. (Does anyone remember "Fish Heads"?).

Phillips will perform songs from his two CDs, Standing on the Shoulders of Freaks and Number 2 as well as new material when he headlines the "Friends of Bob and Tom Show" this Saturday at the Morrison Center at Boise State. That's right; the zaniness of Bob and Tom's morning radio show will infect the PM hours of Boise with the talents of Phillips and three other comics well-known to the listeners of the Bob and Tom show, as well as viewers of Late Night with David Letterman and Comedy Central.

Also on the bill is singer/guitarist Pat Godwin, whose comedy hits include Gangsta Folk and Nobody Speaks English Anymore. Pat is infamous in show business for once singing a dirty version of "American Pie" when he opened for Don McClean because McClean upset him backstage, a scenario I think we all can imagine. Stand-up comedian Mike Birbiglia will bring his youthful exuberance and refined act to the stage, and fans will likely hear recent entries from his "Secret Public Journal." Drew Hastings will deliver his sharp-edged, opinionated stand-up act to round out the show. Look for an appearance from Jack Freeman, a character created by Drew for his one-man show, The Business of Living, as the woefully accurate motivational guru whose motto remains, "You don't need the key to success when you know how to pick the lock!"

These twisted tunesmiths and accomplished stand-up comics should provide plenty of unscripted laughs for fans of the Bob and Tom show. "It's going to be a really fun show," Phillips says. "We're all over the spectrum. The guys I'm working with are just fantastic." The audience should come away feeling grateful that the likes of Henry Phillips didn't follow in the footsteps of the soft-rock singer songwriters who wear their hearts on their sleeve; rather, they will appreciate the cleverness of a performer who can turn everyday annoyances into jagged barbs and catchy choruses that will keep them laughing out loud and quoting them to friends and co-workers for weeks to come.

Saturday, April 30, 8 p.m., $24.50, Morrison Center, www.idahotickets.com.

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