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Emo Phillips

Rossum was born in New York City. She is the only child of Cheryl Rossum, a single mother who worked as a corporate photographer. Rossum's mother is Jewish (of Russian Jewish descent) and her father is Protestant (of English and Dutch ancestry). Rossum has stated that her mother instilled in her the "Jewish code of ethics and morals". Her parents separated while her mother was pregnant; as of 2007, she had met her father twice. She was named after her great-grandfather, whose first name was Emanuel, using the feminine spelling Emmanuelle. She is a relative, by marriage, of designer Vera Wang (Wang was married to Rossum's cousin).

Upon singing "Happy Birthday" in all twelve keys, Rossum was welcomed to join the Metropolitan Opera Children's Chorus by chorus director Elena Doria at the age of seven. Over the course of five years, she sang onstage with the chorus and had the chance to perform with other opera greats, such as Plácido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti. For anywhere from $5 to $10 a night, Rossum sang in six languages in 20 operas, including La bohème, Turandot, a Carnegie Hall presentation of La damnation de Faust, and A Midsummer Night's Dream. She also worked under the direction of Franco Zeffirelli in Carmen. Rossum joked in interviews that her vocal talent and affinity for music developed because her mother always listened to classical music and operas while she was pregnant with her.

By age twelve, Rossum had grown too big for children's costumes. An increasing interest in pursuing acting led to taking classes with Flo Salant Greenberg of The New Actors Workshop in New York City. She also hired an agent and auditioned for many acting roles. Rossum attended the Spence School, a private school in Manhattan, for years, before dropping out to pursue career opportunities. She received her high school diploma at 15 years old via online extension courses offered by Stanford University's Education Program for Gifted Youth (EPGY). She later attended Columbia University.

Aside from Philips' long career as a standup comic, he has been featured in acting roles on television series such as Miami Vice and The Weird Al Show.
He was featured in a segment of Weird Al's movie, "UHF" as a rather clumsy school shop teacher.
He has also recently appeared on British television, appearing as a guest on the panel game 8 Out of 10 Cats.
He was also included in the top 50 of E4's 100 Greatest Comedians. He also appeared number 54 on channel 4's top 100 greatest standups.
Philips has several voiceover credits, including work on the animated series Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist; Home Movies; Space Ghost: Coast to Coast; and the voice of Dooper in the animated series Slacker Cats.
He has appeared in feature films, including UHF (1989), the original version of Meet the Parents (1992) and Desperation Boulevard (1998). He was also associate producer of the 1992 film, Meet the Parents.
Philips has recorded three comedy albums; His album E=mo² won the 1985 New Music Award for best comedy album. It was later re-released along with his Live at the Hasty Pudding Theatre album on a single CD. In 2005, a joke of his was voted funniest religious joke ever in an online poll.
In 2006, he appeared at the Newbury Comedy Festival



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