Funny man Phil Butler grows up

YOU can take the boy out of variety, but you can t take the variety out of the boy! Clacton-born Phil Butler started out as a children s magician in his teens, performing at the end of his local pier, writes MATT TROLLOPE. These days he tours the UK and

YOU can take the boy out of variety, but you can't take the variety out of the boy!

Clacton-born Phil Butler started out as a children's magician in his teens, performing at the end of his local pier, writes MATT TROLLOPE.

These days he tours the UK and beyond on the "grown-up" comedy circuit, but just can't take the variety completely out of his act.

Ahead of his performance in Ilford tomorrow (Thursday) at If Bar & Restaurant, Ilford Hill, he explains: "I try to take each aspect of a traditional variety act - impressions, juggling and ventriloquism - and put a modern spin on it. I like to think my act is unique and that nobody quite does what I do at the moment."


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Phil, 39, who now lives in Watford, has done the cruise ship/holiday park circuit and had his own show in Blackpool.

Then 10 years ago he decided to concentrate on comedy full time.

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Understandably Tommy Cooper is a massive influence and Phil says: "If done right, not doing something in the right way or the way people expect it to be done can work really well."

But he must be doing something right because he's been out to entertain the troops in Afghanistan no fewer than seven times and has been out to Iraq once.

Immensely proud of these trips, fearless Phil enthuses: "These guys have got war constantly on their mind, but for a little while we help take their minds off it.

"I was the first comedian to actually go to the front line out there. In fact, not even Bob Hope or Jim Davidson have been as far forward as me.

"My missus and I have got four kids between us and it does play on your mind. And when you see the guys there with legs or arms blown off it really is an eye opener."

Joining Phil on the bill on Thursday are Martin Beaumont and Steve Day.

Tickets for the show are �10, doors open at 7pm, the show starts at 8pm and there's a disco through until 2am.

For more info go to www.hahaheehee.com or call 020 8553 0644.

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