This week, Ira Sternberg spoke with Dat Phan.
Comedian Dat Phan, who will be performing at The South Point July 28, is the original winner of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” and is a headlining comedian touring live across the U.S.
He has made numerous TV and movie appearances including “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “Bones,” and “The Last Ship.” Most recently, Phan has appeared on the Crackle TV show “StartUp” with Martin Freeman.
Phan was born in Saigon and immigrated with his mother to San Diego. He suffered through financial hardships most of his childhood. After 9/11, he realized life was short and decided to go for his dream to pursue comedy full time. Moving to LA he had to live out of his car and, even after being robbed at gunpoint, he wouldn’t stop pursuing his dream.
He answered phones for The Improv in Hollywood during the day and tried to get as much stage time as possible at night; this meant he often went on well after midnight when crowds were often more drunk than coherent. Later, Phan took the risk and auditioned for the experimental, comedy based show produced by NBC that would launch his career. The rest is history, as he was named the funniest person in America on August 5, 2003
Phan’s culturally insightful comedy inspects ridiculous stereotypes, and shares his experience of being a regular American guy with a Vietnamese heritage. His mission is to bring a more positive portrayal of Asian-Americans to mainstream entertainment and Hollywood. “We want to be seen as more than just martial artists, or bad stereotype token roles in American TV & movies.”
He has been included in The Smithsonian Institution’s exhibition of The Top 10 Most Influential Vietnamese-Americans.