(KGTV) - Comedian Dat Phan spoke with 10News before his upcoming performance at The Comedy Store La Jolla on Oct. 29.
Dat, who was the first winner on the show Last Comic Standing and has since gone on to roles in the shows Bones, Scorpion, The Last Ship, and the movie Kong: Skull Island, spoke via phone from Los Angeles about LA's traffic, his take on Asian-American representation in the arts, and more.
Here's the transcript of Dat's discussion with 10News digital producer Mark Saunders here (some of the interview has been edited down for space.):
On Los Angeles traffic...
Dat: "Have you been to LA?"
Mark: "I've been to LA like once."
Dat: "If you live in LA, to get from one side of the city to the other sometimes takes hours. That's how bad the traffic is here. I have friends that live in another part of the city that I probably won't see until the next presidency ... Yeah, the traffic is that bad. I'm not joking with you I'm deadly serious."
Mark: "They're trying to build public transport. A subway system, right?"
Dat: "They do have that, it's just not as efficient as New York ... New York is subway crazy. But here it's like Mickey Mouse stuff compared to what New York is doing ... Not to mention we have earthquakes here. New York does not. So the infrastructure would probably just fall apart. This is probably the unfunniest interview you've ever done."
Mark: "We're attacking the news of today. It's super relevant."
Dat: "Yeah, you're like 'hey, so you have a comedy show coming up,' and I'm like, 'dude, you have no idea of the catastrophic damage that's going to be happening with an earthquake in Los Angeles."
On Asian-Americans in the arts...
Mark: "I like how you always mention at least, if not definitely going in and explaining the underrepresentation of Asian-Americans in the arts and trying to break that stereotype in Hollywood. Do you still look for that in gigs that you accept?"
Dat: "I kind of used to a little bit. Then the way I look at it is the Trojan horse theory ... here's the deal. [In LA] there are millions of actors from around the world. So of the best actors from around the world here and some of the worst ... so imagine going into a gladiator arena where you're fighting millions of soldiers in an arena. That's hard. It's hard for white people, to be honest with you. Cause if you're an average looking white guy, you're going up against another thousand white dudes for a part. Maybe more.
I used to be a little peeved by [typical Asian-American roles] and now look and I go, 'actually this is not bad because there are only 20 of us here. 30 of us. Then out of that 30, it keeps widdling down. Some of these auditions I have a one of 4 or less chance ... if landing that part.
So now it's like 'well, yeah I don't actually hate the Asian stuff so much.' And as a matter of fact, there are Asians who have accents. I'm not going to do a stereotypical, really bad...degrading, I'm not going to do that. But if it's like a shop owner and the guy has an accent? Absolutely. You know why? Because those were my parents and I'm not ashamed of my parents.
I know that was a pretty serious answer..."
On his success since Last Comic Standing...
Mark: "A lot of people will definitely pick up your name from the first season of Last Comic Standing ... Did you ever think during that show that you're going to be at this point, just like, "Ugh this major network won't get back to me?'"
Dat: "It's kind of funny because when I was on the show Last Comic Standing I was very naive in the sense that I didn't really know how industry worked. I just knew I had to believe in what I believed in, as far as, I'm just going to try and make it as far as I can.
For example, back on Last Comic Standing when I was competing I was just thinking all I could see was blue light coming from the skies. I know it sounds insane what I'm telling you. It's like competing in the Olympics, like I got to make it as far as I can ... but that's all you know. Now today, I look back and I go, 'I see the entire chess board here.' Well not all of it, but a good chunk of the chess board in LA."
For the full interview, check out the video in the player at the top of the page.
Dat Phan (and others) will be performing at The Comedy Store on Oct. 29 at 6 p.m. The show is 21-years and older and there's a two-drink minimum (the comedy is "Rated-R.") For more information, visit The Comedy Store online. Tickets are also available on brownpapertickets.com.