'Last Comic Standing' winner sick of Ramen noodles

By Miriam Weisberg
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, September 29, 2005

Dat Phan took the world of stand-up comedy by storm when he won first place on the NBC television series "Last Comic Standing." Since then he has been traveling across the country with his comedy tour, the West Coast Funnies, which is a sketch comedy/stand-up comedy hybrid, of sorts. While on his tour, Dat Phan was able to take time out to talk to the Arizona Daily Wildcat.

Wildcat: What's the crowd like in Tucson?

Phan: Great! Fantastic crowd! Wait, what am I talking about? The people are nice in Tucson, but I've never performed there.

Wildcat: What was it like being on "Last Comic Standing?"

Phan: It was fantastic. Changed my life. I was able to reach out to 150 million people. It gave me the opportunity to shake hands with over 5 million people. It was quite the opportunity for me. There were times when I felt like I was able to touch the hand of God. I'm not a Christian or anything like that, but like, it was so intense at times. I'm living my dream. I love what I'm able to do as a comic.

Wildcat: What is your favorite part about being famous?

Phan: I'm able to influence a lot of people and meet some amazing people out there and shake hands with them. I'm able to share a part of my life with them and hopefully be a part of their lives as well. It's not so much the fame that's important to me, it's more so the people.

Wildcat: How does being Vietnamese affect your comedy?

Phan: Well, my act is based on my life, and part of my life is being Vietnamese. I convert my actual life into my stand-up comedy and that does include a lot of Vietnamese humor, but I'm sure that other people can understand it as well.

Wildcat: What's the worst joke you've ever told?

Phan: The worst joke I ever told is actually a very filthy joke and would not qualify for the newspaper. Can I say no comment on that?

Wildcat: Well, what did your audience do when you told it? Can I ask you that?

Phan: They pretty much just stared at me in silence.

Wildcat: What were your exact thoughts when you found out you'd won?

Phan: My exact thoughts were, I feel very shocked. I feel very thankful. This is an amazing moment. I have the chance to live my dream right now. I made my mom proud and someday I can perform in Arizona.

Wildcat: You went through a lot of hardships growing up, as well as on your way to comedic success. What was the worst job you've ever had?

Phan: My worst job I've ever had to do was working for a sandwich shop dressed up as a sandwich. You never really get any chicks doing that, having lettuce and tomatoes hanging out of your head.

Wildcat: Is Dat Phan a family name? Where does it come from?

Phan: Dat Phan is actually my real name. It's actually derived from China, even though I'm Vietnamese. Phan is my middle name, which means moving forward, and Dat means success. So "moving forward with success" is my name.

Wildcat: I read somewhere that your economic situation forced you to eat a lot of ramen. What's your favorite flavor?

Phan: My favorite flavor of ramen is Oriental because it reminds me of home.

Wildcat: Will you ever eat it again?

Phan: It's great food, but since I ate a lot of it when I was poor I try not to eat it that often now.

Wildcat: What should your fans expect from your show when they come to see you?

Phan: Just to come and have a great time. I have a lot of new jokes I'm working on, and there will be a variety of great comics. I'm not going to leave the theater until everyone is gone because I would just love to meet everyone.

Wildcat: Can you tell me a joke right now?

Phan: Yeah, sure. Two Asians walk into a bar, and the next week they own it. I love telling that joke.

Dat Phan will be performing at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., tomorrow at 8 p.m. Tickets are $27.50 floor and $22.50 balcony.