Comedian Dat Phan has a face everybody likes |

Comedian Dat Phan has a face everybody likes

Howie Nave, Lake Tahoe Action

Does Dat Phan really want to emulate Howie Nave by growing whiskers? Find out all this week at the Improv at Harveys Casino and Resort. Howie, Dat and Marc Price are twice as funny on Saturday because there are two shows.

When someone gives me grief about spending too much time on Facebook, I reference this week’s headliner at Harveys Improv, Dat Phan.

Because of the thousands of “friends” Dat has amassed in these past few years, it didn’t surprise me when he told me that well over half of his bookings comes directly through Facebook.

Let me say that again: just by signing on to Facebook there’s the potential of six months worth of paid gigs literally just sitting there waiting for you to say, “Yes, I will do your venue,” without even having to seek out the gig yourself! That is amazing.

But even without the social networking thing at his disposal, Dat is usually booked a year in advance. Things certainly have changed from when I first started out having to go through an agent or rely on an established headliner who liked me enough to take me on the road as his or her opening act.

Of course, someone’s exposure through traditional media outlets never hurts, either. Dat would have been a phenom anyway but having NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” as your springboard into national exposure certainly didn’t hurt. “Last Comic Standing” gave Dat the platform to start from and he capitalized on that nicely. NBC likes to have first dibs on their own so it was just natural that Dat’s next national television exposure came in the way of the “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” After that, things took off and all of this was even before Mark Zuckerberg started his thing.

None of this would have been possible had Dat not had a great act.

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For awhile Dat was living out of his car taking whatever work he could get while perfecting his stand-up routine at night while answering the phones for Budd Friedman’s Improv during the day in Hollywood. Just think, when other comics called in trying to get booked at the Improv for stage time they were probably getting Dat on the other end where he was trying to get the same thing for himself.

More than anything, Dat had a greater appreciation for this side of the business than ever before, and it taught him how important working behind the scenes was just as important as being the guy on stage.

In addition to his non-stop schedule working the road he’s also found time to do more television and motion picture work.

Dat has become a role model for not just young comics starting out in the business but for Asians in all walks of life and because of that was rewarded by such prestigious organizations as the Smithsonian Institute when he was mentioned for their “Top 10 Most Influential Vietnamese-American Individuals.”

Marc Price loves comedy, but probably skiing even more. He was booked back in part because we promised him it would be snowing. Well, part of that wish came true; let’s hope it continues not just for “Skippy” but for all of us who live up here.

I say “Skippy” because that was Price’s character on the long-running 1980s TV sitcom “Family Ties” (which also starred Michael J. Fox and Justine Bateman). To his credit, Marc is one of the few child stars who didn’t go off the deep end, I think in part because he would never take himself too seriously.

As an actor, Marc continued appearing in front of the camera starring as a guest actor on “Archie Bunker’s Place” and “One Day At A Time.” He did numerous Disney programs and those movie-of-the-week shows before eventually working behind the camera as a writer, producer and even as a director.

He produced, wrote and directed 65 episodes of “National Lampoon’s Funny Money” for the Game Show Network, been the executive producer and creator for “Green Collar Comedy”on Showtime. I loved that show, which basically was an hour special featuring environmentally themed comedians in an eco-friendly setting.

Marc also co-produced “Comics Unleashed” on The Animal Planet that was hosted by the late Richard Jeni, in addition to so many other television programs that I don’t have the space to list here.

The only credit that Marc wants this week is snow!

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