Emergency Intercom comedy duo attracts attention at URI

The Emergency Intercom podcast filled Edwards Auditorium with laughter on Saturday, bringing a crowd of fans from the University of Rhode Island and its surrounding states.

Brought in by the Student Entertainment Committee, Drew Phillips and Enya Umanzor traveled from the West Coast to perform the live podcast and Q&A session. This allowed fans to ask questions, share memories about the pair and hand out personalized gifts, which included bracelets and custom lighters.

The pair entered the stage with an eclipse joke, transitioning into conversations about their rental car, a Kia Soul, and the low speed limits in Rhode Island.

Umanzor then told an extensive story of losing her wallet in the Boston Logan International Airport, including the interaction between them and the man who they assumed stole the wallet. The crowd reciprocated with intermittent laughter as Umanzor and Phillips recounted the interaction between the two of them. She did not receive her wallet, and instead received multiple attempted transactions charged to her account, according to Umanzor.

The rest of the podcast told stories of their friends, touched upon a prank call resurgence, the art and fun of lying, marijuana-induced panic attacks, plane-induced panic attacks, accidental mustard gas, ghost outfits, notable URI alumni, One Direction merch, Coachella, beating “unc” allegations, modern baby names and screaming on video.

“Drew uses these shows for 45 minutes of constant cheering for him,” Umanzor said during the set as fans cheered on Phillips.

This serves true to their brand, as their Apple Music profile states: “There is no emergency, but there is an intense need for attention.”

Similarly, their YouTube bio states: “This is a podcast by Enya Umanzor and Drew Phillips, where we hopefully give out laughter from our attempts at getting maximum attention!”

Much of the live podcast in Edwards Auditorium revolved around long-time inside jokes that the pair had constructed over the years, shared between them and their fans.

“The people that listen, we all have a hive-mind almost,” Phillips said in an interview before the show.

The audience then went into the Q&A portion of the event, which turned out to prove quite emotional for both the crowd and the duo. One audience member mentioned that the pair had sent her to Coachella a couple years past. Phillips and Umanzor had posted a link for SeatGeek tickets, and the recipient of the tickets sat in the crowd and thanked them.

Another audience member had met them in 2016 and asked if they remembered her, to which they immediately replied with her name.

“It’s scary that I can still recognize you, and it’s scary that peoples’ faces change but don’t change,” Umanzor said.

They had a brief conversation regarding the audience member graduating soon, and as they began to catch up, Umanzor said she wanted to talk after the show.

Rose Dzilenski, who drove from Connecticut for the show, then asked what movie they would be watching that night after returning to the hotel, shortly before handing them custom-decorated lighters.

After the Q&A session, they took turns taking gifts from fans and taking pictures with them as well.

URI third-year student Ava Aymie was not able to ask them a question, but said she wanted to ask them how it was to work with big fashion brands like Marc Jacobs and Nike. She has also been watching them since she was in eighth grade.

“I really liked how interactive they were with the crowd, how they wanted us to make TikToks of them,” Aymie said. “I felt like they appreciated us as much as we appreciated them.”

Aymie had originally begun watching Umanzor’s Vines at the beginning of her social media career, where she eventually found Phillips through Umanzor’s content.

“They get the humor of our generation a little bit better than others,” Aymie said.

At the beginning of their comedy career, the pair began posting individually online to the social media platform, Vine, when they were in high school. They have since been able to meet other content creators and form their own friend group.

“I think we just got so lucky,” Umanzor and Phillips said. “Found family, it feels like there was a string attached to all of us when we were born and then luckily we met. It’s crazy how like-minded we all are, we all share the same values.”

Phillips and Unamzor posted the first episode of Emergency Intercom to YouTube on July 9, 2021. They talked about their experience during COVID-19, among other things, which has amassed almost 620,000 views. The pair has posted almost weekly ever since, reaching their 141th episode as of Friday with guest-musician Conan Gray, who contributed to their routine yap session.

“I think especially now that there’s a community around it, it holds us to it, and we want to be able to give our audience something to listen to,” Umanzor said before the show.

Their career has spanned from making vlogs online, to comedy skits with their friends and now they have developed Emergency Intercom as their own, with help from Ky Newman, who produces the show with them.

“Whatever you do, be 100% passionate about it and don’t give up because truly there’s an audience for everything,” Phillips said. “I mean look at us, we are so hyperniche.”

Moving forward, Umanzor said that they have plans to increase production value of the podcast, making it a little more clean-cut and formatted.

“In the next month, we have big changes,” Umanzor said. “Hopefully no one is sad that it’s not just in the kitchen. That’s what I’ll say about that.”