‘Phan’-tastic week of comedy with Dat and Flip | TahoeDailyTribune.com

‘Phan’-tastic week of comedy with Dat and Flip

Howie Nave

As the original winner of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” Dat Phan finds his way back Harveys this week. He headlines at the Improv through Sunday, May 1.

Phat’s been on the road non-stop now for 22 weeks! He’s made numerous television appearances including “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “The Family Guy” voiceover, and “The Tyra Banks Show.” His DVD “Dat Phan Live” was released last year (and is available from Amazon.com). His CD “You Touch, You Buy” is currently available on Itunes. As far as the big screen Dat was in “Cellular” and preproductionhas started for his next project, “Yellow Fever.”

A lot has been mentioned regarding Dat’s professional career but he’s also been a mentoring figure to young Asian comics just starting out, and to folks not even in the entertainment business. This was never more apparent when Dat was included in The Smithsonian Institution’s exhibition of The Top 10 Most Influential Vietnamese-American Individuals. If anyone deserves the credits it’s Dat.

Oh trust me he paid his dues – big time. It wasn’t that long ago when Dat was literally living in the back seat of his car before “Last Comic Standing” gave him the opportunity, the springboard if you will, to launch a comedy career.

Born in Saigon, Vietnam, Dat Tien Phan grew up in San Diego, barely making ends meet. After high school he headed to Los Angeles, snagging a job answering the phones for the Improv in Hollywood. He did that during the day and tried to get as much stage time as possible at night, even if it meant going on well after midnight when the crowds were non-existent or drunk.

Dat started out commenting on his family since he had a wealth of material.

“That’s why so much of my material is based on my mom and family,” he said. “Eighty-five percent of my material is true.”

He also offers up some poignant insights into his cultural background poking fun of the ridiculous stereotypes and shares that experience of being a regular American guy within a Vietnamese heritage.

His fan base has really grown too on Facebook, having topped two 5,000 friend pages and with a third well on its way to reaching that same goal. He also has a couple of fan pages too. I should know because Dat set up a second friend page for me as well.

He’s always willing to offer up ideas and get this: when he has time teaches a class on how to take full advantage of the social medium and he has been able to garner more than half of all his bookings through Facebook! Who says spending time on that site isn’t profitable?

Many comedians didn’t plan on a career in standup, it just sort of found them. With Flip Schultz he knew at the age of 8 he was going to be a comedian when he won a talent contest.

What parent would submit his kid to a contest at that age let alone one as a comedian? He had a decade to mull it over because it wasn’t until he was 18 when he performed at a real comedy club (which doubled as a bar) and won the open mic night contest.

Hey, he already had the 8-year old credential so Flip was already in the running. For the next couple of years he annoyed club owners and got as much stage time as possible. It paid off when he started making money, and both he and his parents were very happy about that!

Flip became one of South Florida’s biggest acts and after giving it some thought made the obvious move cross country to Los Angeles. He established himself pretty quickly with his high energy and very physical delivery.

He’s opened for some pretty cool acts which included Lewis Black, George Carlin, Maryellen Hooper, Robert Schimmel, Jay Mohr, John Pinette, Bobby Slayton and “Weird Al” Yankovic. Flip quickly established himself with his audience offering up his quick wit and rapport with the crowd.

Flip is hysterical offstage too. He has seen his fair share of television kudos including “Last Comic Standing,” Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham” in New York, the 2002 “Jerry Lewis Telethon,” scores of comedy festivals and appearing in the motion picture, “Big Trouble.” And if that wasn’t enough, he not only writes for himself but for countless other acts in addition to being a staff writer for the “Terry Fator & Friends” (winner of 2007 America’s Got Talent) at the Vegas Hilton & Mirage.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.