It ain't easy being green
Episode 7: A Little Dis, A Little Dat
Last week on “Last Comic Standing”, Dat Phan won a walk-on role on the NBC comedy “Good Morning, Miami.” What reward could have been more perfect for Dat? As this week’s episode starts, Dat tells us “I want to be a sitcom star so bad – worse that Jet Li wanted to beat people up on camera.” But before we get to see Dat’s appearance on the set, we’re treated to Dave Mordal and Rich Vos commenting about their impressions of the young comic’s lack of humor around the house.
Vos: “Wouldn’t you think funny would be not only on stage, but everywhere?”
Dave: “I’ve always thought that. I’m trying to decide if there’s something wrong with him or he’s a genius and I’m going to get blown out of the water if I challenge him.” I recognize blatant foreshadowing when I see it.
We get to see some footage of Dat’s walk-on sitcom role. He walks over to a coffeepot, pours a cup, nods to “Good Morning, Miami” star Mark Feurstein, and exits stage left. That’s it? He repeats the process a few times, and that’s a wrap. Dat shakes Feurstein’s hand warmly and tells him “I look forward to working with you again!” Dude, you poured coffee. Based on that loose definition, I’ve worked with waitresses at diners all across the country. But I have to admit, none of them did it was such energy and enthusiasm. Dat has the makings of a star.
A Little Dis
Back at the house, Dave and Rich continue to ride Dat about his lack of humor around the house. He tells them that he doesn’t have to prove anything. “It’s a contest” Dave says, “you do have to prove it.” Dave tells them that he will prove it when the time is right. At this point I realize that if the foreshadowing in The Sixth Sense had been this obvious and heavy-handed, I might have had a chance to work with M. Night Shyamalan at Denny’s the other night.
Dat continues. “I operate on positive thinking. I want to get to know you, I want to know what you guys are eating in New York. Does that make any sense?” Dave replies “No. Because that’s not what the show is about – getting to know the cuisine of New York!”
Dat tells us “These guys have trained me to be bullet-proof.” Vos lets us know that “He’s not a made man – we made him a man. He’s still a young warrior and he still has to prove himself.” M. Night, could I have a little more coffee?
In a scene shot from the backyard of the house, we see the comics hanging out on the beautiful terraces and around the mansion’s swimming pool. Hollywood is stretched out below them, and in the distance lies the Pacific Ocean. By now the comics have been staying in this luxurious setting for days. With his boyish enthusiasm, Dat exclaims “Dude, look at that ocean. That is so beautiful!” Dave chimes in with “Yep, it’s in the same spot every day too – it’s really weird.”
Back in the house, the alarm on Claudette the fortune-teller sounds, announcing the arrival of another task. Dave reveals to us that “Now that we’re this close and there’s only seven of us left, the only thing that I have that could possibly save me from being booted is a contest that I can win at – maybe skinning an animal… chasing old people... a footrace with Ralphie.” Good lord, we haven’t even reached the contest yet and I’m already out of foreshadowing jokes.
As the comics gather in the living room, Dat retrieves the clue: “A picture says a thousand words. One of them might be Exemption.” Jay arrives to explain that they will be participating in a scavenger hunt. The comics will each be given a camera and a list of items. They will be dropped off on Hollywood Blvd and must take pictures of as many items named on the list as they can. The comic that gets photos of the most items will be exempt from head-to-head competition this week, and will get to appear as a guest on “Last Call with Carson Daly.” Unless a skinned animal is on the list, I think Dave’s in trouble. Rich asks Jay a question related to the contest: “Won’t Dat have an advantage when it comes to taking pictures?” Dave chimes in “Yeah, it’s kind of a cultural thing.”
Once they’re dropped off on Hollywood Blvd, the comics get to work. Well, most of them do; Ralphie May picks out a piece of sidewalk to shade and never moves the entire time. It seems that one of the first items on the list is a woman with blue eyeshadow, because Geoff Brown (you remember him, don’t you?) yells out “Who wants ten-thousand dollars and wears blue eyeshadow?”
Tess ponders the question many of you are wondering about even now. Namely, “Where are all the hookers when you need them?”
Picking another item on the list, Cory Kahaney comments “Nobody’s got cornrows. What the hell happened? The whole world had cornrows last week!” It seems that our dear Cory has been frozen in a cryogenic chamber since the week after the movie 10 came out.
As the hunt continues, Dave snaps a picture of a t-shirt with a bikini-clad woman’s figure on it; it isn’t on the list. Back in elementary school, Dave probably brought home a report card that said “Davey plays well with others but has problems following directions.”
Vos isn’t worried about winning, he’s busy having a good time. He shows us three old men and reveals that they are the original Rat Pack; Joey Bishop, Sammy Davis, and Dino. It looks like not only have they come back from the dead, but something on the other side scared Sammy so badly that he turned white. Rich asks a man in a turban to stand with a guy of Middle Eastern descent to pose for a photo. As he snaps the pic he tells them “This is for a little company back here we call the FBI.”
Tess looks at the list and asks “What’s a mullet.”
Dat frantically tries to get a bald man to pull his hair over his head to simulate a comb-over. Upon taking the picture, Dat’s camera jams, and while he can’t get the film out of the camera, his eyes nearly come out of his head. “If I lose this picture I might lose more than you may imagine.” Nice try Dat, but the NBC Foreshadowing Department has already destroyed anything that might have passed for suspense this episode way back at “a footrace with Ralphie.” Hey, what do you know, I had one left after all.
The contest completed, Jay gathers the comics back at the house to reveal the results.
Ralphie managed a single picture. “My goal was to do nothing at all. I think I achieved my goal.” Dat comes in with a respectable five pictures. Dave tallied one. It looks like Geoff’s phoney prize money tactic paid off, as he has eleven pictures in his stack. Rich has no pictures. Jay points out “Ralphie May never moved and he beat you.” Cory did even better than Geoff; fourteen. And that brings us to Tess, the only member of the house to have won more than one of the previous contests. She has seven pictures, which means that Cory will be exempt from the head-to-head challenge. “There’s this incredible sense of relief. As a footsoldier for The Don I have done a good job. And I’m still in the house.”
Things Get Weird
During some down time, Rich allows Cory to give him a facial. After applying the facial cream, she covers his head with a towel, and Dave places a sign next to him that reads “Slowly Losing His Career.” After the beauty treatment, Rich announces that he has to have someone killed to get his manliness back, and promptly asks Dat to jump over the terrace railing. And then things got a little weird. I know; as if Vos getting a facial wasn’t strange enough.
Dat tells us “They’ve given me power to shield myself from their evil.” Dat, they’re comics. At best they’re only semi-evil. Quasi-evil. The margarine of evil. The diet coke of evil, just one calorie, not evil enough. Look at me telling someone else’s jokes. I hope this doesn’t get me blackballed by the other members of the recapping community.
Dat practices his routine and shows us 3x5 cards that contain his jokes, marked with numbers and codes; his entire set, complete with a backup joke. A backup joke? Seriously? Comedy is just so hi-tech these days. Back in the old days a comic didn’t have backup jokes. If “Take my wife, please!” didn’t work, the poor sap had nothing standing between him and a hostile crowd but a rubber chicken.
Ralphie thinks Dat is crazy. Dave comments that Dat has his cards typed out in triplicate, complete with assigned codes. “A lot of my stuff is on the back of a matchbook cover, which I’ll eventually lose and I’ll forget the whole bit.”
Oh yeah, the weirdness – I almost forgot. Dat says “You’ve gotta have love, and love is part of the Circle of Life.” Young Simba then proceeds to hug every comic he can get to sit still. “I love you, man.” If you ever see Dat coming, hide your Bud Light, people.
In a private conversation with Cory, Dat reveals “I play the game differently. I want the person who wins to be a good person. I do not want anybody that does not represent honor and integrity to win this.” Cory later tells us that by “honor and integrity” he meant himself. Am I the only one feeling bludgeoned about the head by the obvious this episode?
Dat then asks us “Do you want somebody that represents the path of evil and darkness and backstabbing, conniving, deception – just everything that’s bad? Or do you choose to vote for somebody who represents humbleness, integrity, hope for the human race. I mean, you want somebody that will help change society for the betterment of the human race – for a better future. That provides hope for the youth of America.” It was like listening to Frodo give a campaign speech if he ran for President of Middle Earth against Sauron, Lord of Darkness.
We see the rest of the comics discussing who to vote for. Between Dat describing each of them, we see them agreeing to vote against Dat. Of Ralphie he says “I’m in his right pocket. I don’t know, right or left – it doesn’t matter.” I really hope he was speaking metaphorically.
A Litte Dat
The comics gather for the vote. Dat votes. “How awesome would it be for me to go up against a twenty year comedy veteran? That means when this guy did his first show I was in grade school watching Saturday morning cartoons.” To nobody’s surprise, every other comic votes that they are funnier than Dat. “Well, well, well. You voted for me. That’s a very nice surprise.” To who? Dat chooses to go up against Dave Mordal in the head-to-head competition. I had been so wrapped up in bitterness over the realization that I didn’t get to watch cartoons at my grade school that it only then dawned on me that Dat had been talking about Rich, not Dave when he voted.
Dat tells us “As we get closer and closer to stage time I’m going to do a lot of weird things.” Good grief! You mean he hasn’t been doing anything weird up to this point? We see Dat staring out over Hollywood as he goes into some sort of Comic Kung-fu-talk-to-your-dead-ancestors deal in which his mother (she’s alive, forget the dead-ancestor thingie) tells him “Youcandoit Datphan! Youcandoit!” Dave sleeps. Dat practices his entire routine. Dave snores.
Before the showdown, Rich tells us “Dave is a brilliant comic – brilliant writer.” He’s talking as if Dave is dead. Which, from the standpoint of this show, he already is.
At the showdown, Dave goes first. Counting the semi-finals, this is the fourth time we’ve seen Dave perform. And it is the fourth different set of jokes we’ve heard. Dave’s delivery seems a little quicker and less laid back than it has in the past. But his jokes – about everything from why he quit drinking, to his ’83 Escort (it’ll hydroplane on a mirage) - had the audience and the comics in stitches. He finishes with a prophetic “Enjoy Dat Phan, everybody.”
Dat comes on stage and is a bundle of energy. He goes into the same Vietnamese accent bit we saw in the semi-finals. It’s still funny, but it’s funnier to the crowd because they hadn’t seen it before. As Dat gets the crowd going and the laughs continue to build, the comics – Rich in particular – start looking very nervous. They realize that quiet, never-says-anything-funny-in-the-house Dat is very good at entertaining a crowd once he’s up on stage.
When the results of the voting are announced, we learn that Dat Phan has beaten Dave Mordal with 70% of the vote. The comics lament the loss of their friend Dave. Tess says “He completely fooled me. Dat did his thing – go figure.” Cory says “Dat did his dog and pony show and they lapped it up like hungry wolves.” Okay, I get that you’re sad, but do you really need to put the image of a bunch of helpless dogs and ponies being devoured by a pack of wolves? I mean, this is prime time, and some of us just finished dinner.
As the credits roll, we’re treated to “The Dave & Rich Show”, a scene from the house in which Rich and Dave were hosting their own version of “Regis and Kathy Lee.” It’s obvious that these two became great friends during the show. And even more obvious that Rich will be bathing alone the rest of the series.
Isn't this a bit late? But it must've tooken a while, good job Wayner
Loaded God Complex
Well done, Wayner. Hysterical!
Excellent recap, Wayner... You should be on Last Comic Standing! Well, you should be on the show so that you can dispense snappy one-liners, but barred from the stand-up bits and the prize unless you somehow prove yourself, young warrior.
King of the world
Very funny recap and well worth the wait.
Dude, you poured coffee. Based on that loose definition, I’ve worked with waitresses at diners all across the country. But I have to admit, none of them did it was such energy and enthusiasm. Dat has the makings of a star.
“No. Because that’s not what the show is about – getting to know the cuisine of New York!”
As the hunt continues, Dave snaps a picture of a t-shirt with a bikini-clad woman’s figure on it; it isn’t on the list.
As he snaps the pic he tells them “This is for a little company back here we call the FBI.”
At best they’re only semi-evil. Quasi-evil. The margarine of evil. The diet coke of evil, just one calorie, not evil enough. Look at me telling someone else’s jokes.
If “Take my wife, please!” didn’t work, the poor sap had nothing standing between him and a hostile crowd but a rubber chicken.
Dave sleeps. Dat practices his entire routine. Dave snores.
I, for one, am delighted that I just read your freshly churned out recap now. My mind was clouded by BB4, Cupid, FLOM2 (the ridiculous) to TAR (the sublime).
My receptive mind was able to take in your recap this morning and absolutely lap it up. It is great, Wayner!
That's all I'm going to say about it. It stands on its own merit.
Where's the interview? May I read it first? Thanks
As always a job well done and well worth the wait.
It's hard to tell because of editing. But i remember thinking Tess's comments at the end of the show was odd.
Tess says “He completely fooled me. Dat did his thing – go figure.”
But during Dat's routine, the camera showed her laughing so hard, she was hiding her face towards Geoff away from the camera.
It ain't easy being green
Hi Eddie. I was working on the overdue recap last night so I didn't have time to transcribe our conversation with Dat. As I mentioned to you and Dat on the phone last night, I'm not sure when I'll get it posted. As for reading it first, I didn't let Dave Mordal read his first, and I want to give everyone equal treatment. I really appreciate Dat taking the time to talk with me.
Originally Posted by eddie
If you have any more questions about it, feel free to PM me or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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