Death, Sex and Fear: What the Hell Dat Phan? – Episode 15

The world of stand-up comedy can be very difficult to bear. Balancing a taxing lifestyle and overcoming rejection are two very obvious challenges a comedian must face. But what about the real big stuff we’re afraid to talk about? Such as death, poverty, and declining health.

In today’s episode, my friend and professional stand-up comedian, Dat Phan joins Phil and me to talk about the power of taking action and the beauty of hidden connections. Watch and listen as Dat intimately reveals his greatest fear, shares a private story about the death of our mutual friend (RIP Eugene Hoang), and how removing comedy from his lifestyle helps him to avoid burnout.


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Share Some Shut Up Love –>  I was homeless once as a child & again as an adult, right before winning Last Comic Standing. I’m a survivor. @dat_phan on #shutupshow

Fun Facts:

  • Dat Phan is 1 of 9 siblings whose family emigrated from South Vietnam to America over 30 years ago.
  • Dat was the original winner of Last Comic Standing, a stand-up competition reality show.
  • Dat Phan was featured in the movies Cellular and Love is the Drug, and notably recognized for his appearance in DirectTV’s “The Whale” campaign.
  • Dat has three movies coming out and is still currently touring for stand-up comedy shows and events all over the world.
  • Dat calls Berni by her full first name “Bernadette.” (When you find out why, please tell me because I don’t even know.)

Defining Shut Up Moment:

I was homeless twice before in my life. Once as a child and once as an adult, right before winning Last Comic Standing in 2002. If there’s anything my mom taught me, it’s how to be a survivor. Every day I think of a new way to survive and, like an American, I cut corners. I try to build a future, stay optimistic, be a better person every day, and make my health better. – Dat

Shut Up Tips:

Telling a story is important because it is about connections, even the hidden ones. Sometimes they’re delayed, sometimes they’re enhanced. But they’re all about people. – Phil

You have to find something that relates or resonates with the people whether it’s one person or an audience of 10,000. – Berni

When I’m alone I do the complete opposite. I stay away from comedy as far as possible when I’m not doing it. It’s like martial arts. You’ve got to have a balance. You can’t throw kicks and punches all the time or you’ll get burnt out. When I go back on the road again and do comedy, it’s nice again. I haven’t done it for awhile so I look forward to it again. – Dat

To me, comedy is as intimate as sex where you actually get enjoyment out of it, enjoyment out of laughter. Enjoyment out of telling jokes. If you’re constantly telling nonstop jokes, it’s rape. – Dat

Often what scares us is what excites us. – Phil

If someone close to me dies, I try to find out what I learned from that person when they were alive. So that way their life had some meaning to it, some value to it, as opposed to just a lost life. – Dat

I try to find a way to make more money, get more stability, get healthier because then there’s hope instead of laying on the couch eating a bag of chips and complaining. I try to take action. – Dat

Dat Recommends:

Krav Maga, martial arts, and running for a healthier lifestyle.

Find out more about Dat’s three upcoming movies at

Find Dat:

Dat’s Facebook Page is Comedian Dat Phan

Dat Phan on Twitter

Dat loves instagram

Tour info and company information at


Photo credit: Scotty T. Photography