Phil Rosenthal tells Chris Evans about his Somebody Feed Phil travel series and book

Virgin Radio

27 Jan 2023, 11:41

Chris Evans and Phil Rosenthal at Virgin Radio

Everybody Loves Raymond creator Phil Rosenthal’s new book was released last week, and is the companion to his Emmy-nominated Netflix food and travel series, Somebody Feed Phil.

The award-winning comedy writer and producer joined the Chris Evans Breakfast Show with cinch to talk about his unscripted documentary series and its accompanying book. After the brekkie show team had presented him with a Colin The Caterpillar cake for his birthday, Phil told Chris about his new book, explaining that it contains: “60 of the most requested recipes from the first four seasons of the show. And it's a wonderful cookbook.”

As well as being a collection of recipes, the book features never-before-heard stories, behind-the-scenes photos, and more from the first four seasons of Somebody Feed Phil, the sixth season of which premiered on Netflix in October 2022 and continued to combine Phil’s love of food and travel. However, its star explained to Chris that he had a hard time getting the show made in the first place. “I meet with the president of the Travel Channel,” he revealed. “This is 100% true. And he says, ‘We've done some research when we found that our audience doesn't really like travel’. I said, ‘Oh, my! What are you going to do?’ And he said, ‘Well, we're going to do shows that are travel adjacent… We have a show called Pimp My RV. You understand?’ I said, ‘I think I do. You're gonna pimp an RV, but you're not going to go anywhere?’. He goes. ‘That's right’.”

Phil then tried to take the show to the Food Network. “The Food Network is owned by the same people that owned the Travel Channel,” he laughed. “And my hand to God, the president said to me, ‘We're kind of getting away from the food thing. We do food adjacent’. He used the same term!”

Ten years after he had the original idea, Phil went to PBS with “one line that I thought could work in selling it.” He told Chris: “I said, ‘I'm exactly like Anthony Bourdain if he was afraid of everything’.

“I thought, ‘I can't do what he does. Who can? He's a superhero. And I thought maybe there's a show for people like me who watch him and say, He's amazing. I'm never doing that’.”

The Netflix series, of which his brother Richard is co-creator and producer, has seen Phil in the Andes (“They drove me up there and they left me to die”), diving for sea urchins (“My brother sends me into these dangerous situations. He doesn’t care what happens to me), and in a Ferrari on a Formula One racetrack in Texas (“We went 187 miles an hour and I thought I was gonna die. It's the worst thing that ever happened").

On the food he eats on the show, he said: “I taste everything and I finish nothing. And the crew is usually looking at me with their tongues hanging out.”

As well as having a Netflix series and book, the comedy writer’s 20-date Somebody Feed Phil Tour continues in London tonight (27th January) at Hackney Empire. 

On what to expect from his live show, Phil says: “They'll show a five minute highlight reel of season six, and then I'll come on stage with the moderator. And we have a chat for a bit, and then we open it up to the audience, and that is so much fun. I just love the interaction. You never know what you're gonna get.” 

Along with being the creator of Everybody Loves Raymond, Phil was the showrunner/executive producer for all nine years. It was nominated for over seventy Emmy Awards and won fifteen awards. He also “wrote humour, jokes, I guess, for Bill Clinton for all eight years of his presidency”. 

Telling Chris about being called in to help make a video for the then POTUS, Phil said: “I was directing the President of the United States while he was President in the White House. Still, I can't believe it. I came home. And I said to my wife, ‘You know, if you tell the most powerful man in the world what to do, and he does it, doesn't that make you the most powerful man in the world?’ And she said, ‘Pick up your socks’!”

The book, Somebody Feed Phil, is out now. Series 1-6 is on Netflix. 

For more great interviews listen to  The Chris Evans Breakfast Show with cinch weekdays from 6:30am on Virgin Radio, or  catch up on-demand here.