JUNE 28-JULY 2

Emo Philips has one of the sharpest, slipperiest, most unpredictable comic minds in the business. That it is encased in one of the most curious of heads probably explains why there has been no Emo sitcom or movie. Of course, it also hasn’t helped Emo’s case that he is wont to spout such dark musings as “Some mornings it just doesn’t seem worth it to gnaw through the leather straps.” Obviously, he’s not concerned about courting the mainstream. But that line is typical Emo: the happy sing-song delivery leading to an unexpected, sick twist. When he first appeared, sporting a Buster Brown hairstyle and off-his-Ritalin mannerisms, it was hard to tell whether he was a comic or just a grown-up bad seed. Recently, Emo has updated his locks and looks, donning a tiny pair of glasses and a spiky ’80s performance-artist ‘do. This makeover still won’t get him a TV show, but it seems a bit less distracting than his earlier persona. Emo’s off-kilter one-liners are similar to those of the laconic Steven Wright, although Emo dredges his material from much murkier waters. For instance: “I love to go down to the schoolyard and watch all the little children jump up and down and run around yelling and screaming….They don’t know I’m only using blanks.” We should be thankful that Emo has turned his bleak visions into laughs instead of taking a job at the post office. Expect him to be fully loaded at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 28, Thursday, June 29, and Sunday, July 2, and at 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday, June 30, and Saturday, July 1, at the Improv, 1140 Connecticut Ave. NW. $15-$17. (202) 296-7008. (Dave Nuttycombe)