‘I already do one Clinton - Bill - and I’ve got until November to do Bush. I shall manage whoever takes over’
HE’S already perfected one Clinton and being presented with the possibility of having to capture another doesn’t faze him one bit.
But then you imagine that Phil Cool, the man of a million rubbery faces, could just about get his incredibly flexible features around any new challenge.
Not that he is wishing Mrs Clinton into the Oval Office. But you suspect he wouldn’t flinch if Hillary did make it to the White House come November.
“I already do one Clinton - Bill - and I’ve got until November to do Bush. I shall manage whoever takes over.”
After all, he’s had to contend with a switch in power in British politics, though he admits that he’s found the gear change in the Labour Party leadership a challenge. Tony Blair, with his dramatic presentational style and his wealth of personal mannerisms, became a regular feature of the Cool collection and remains so thanks to the former Prime Minister’s role as a Middle East peace envoy. Blair’s successor though is taking considerable thought.
“I’m still working on Mr Brown. Everybody has been taken by the fact that before he speaks, there’s that little intake of breath.
“I was thinking perhaps he was going to throw up into a paper bag! I’m working on it.”
Though politicians are part of his stock in trade, it doesn’t take long to suss that Phil has a healthy scepticism when it comes to our political masters and perhaps to the world in general.
“I think that no matter who gets in, things will still be the same.”
Things certainly haven’t stayed the same for Phil Cool, who started his working career as Phil Martin, electrician.
Phil was born in Chorley in Lancashire and remains firmly on the western side of the Pennines, living contentedly in the Trough of Bowland.
He’s venturing this side of the hills in April to play a date at the Lawrence Batley Theatre. “I’ve been there once before and got a good reception. I’m hoping that, this time, some of the old Phil Cool fans will turn out as well as some of the youngsters who seem to have homed in to my sense of humour.”
That distinctly surreal style of humour, plus a talent for mimicry, emerged early.
“I used to fool around at school. I wasn’t the typical class clown – there were others who were better at that than me. But I did fool around, pulling faces and stuff that I still do. What I call my Quasimodo face. I was doing that when I was 12 and I knew there was something peculiar about my face.”
What he is talking about is his ability to make himself look uncannily like some of the best known faces around.
“I do a really good Bugs Bunny.” No laughing now. For what follows is a surreal conversation about how he came to create Bugs Mercury, a mind-boggling combination of everybody’s favourite cartoon character and that other much-loved icon, Freddie Mercury.
It’s a character that has the approval of Phil’s teenage son. And that’s apparently a huge compliment.
“I’ve got a 13-year-old son who has discovered pop and rock music. He’s teamed up with some of lads from school and formed a band. They’ve been playing at home and driving me crazy“!”
But clearly, this hugely proud dad is living with some pretty normal teenage behaviour.
“The other day, my wife said to him, why don’t you do such and such a song and he said, it’s rubbish. Later, his mates suggested exactly the same thing and that was fine. Now they are going to do it.”
Clearly anything parents volunteer, even a dad many think is super-Cool, is best ignored.
Not that all young people find Phil’s generation less than Cool.
“There are some kids who apparently have put me on YouTube so I’m in cyberspace.”
And he reels of a series of sketches that are now being seeing by a whole new generation of comedy fans, courtesy of the internet.
A more mellow man these days, perhaps, but a contented one, certainly. We chat happily about his family. One of his daughters has presented him with grandchildren and being grandad is clearly a role that he loves.
But tease him with the idea of the Cool persona on baby duty and the answer snaps back: “There’s no Cool like an old Cool.”
See Phil on April 12 at the Lawrence Batley Theatre. Tickets on 01484 430528.