Dat Phan’s mother does not care what kind of girl he brings home to meet the parents — as long as she is Asian.
“She doesn’t know what I’m doing with all these white girls,” he riffed Saturday night. “She’s like, ‘Why don’t you date an Asian girl? Small and compact!’ What is she trying to sell me, a Hyundai?”
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Phan, a Vietnamese-American comedian and the winner of season one of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,” headlined Saturday night’s Fall Show before an audience of roughly 1,000 in Woolsey Hall. Phan cracked jokes about his mother, Asian stereotypes and making it as a Vietnamese-American in Hollywood. Phan’s performance, preceded by two student performers and “Last Comic Standing” season one runner-up Cory Kahaney, was received well by students, though many said his emphasis on Asians was repetitive.
To open his act, Phan commented on the “half-church, half-Harry Potter” grandeur of Woolsey Hall. But he quickly moved to more familiar ground, surveying his upcoming movies, the propensity of Vietnamese-Americans to own nail salons and his mother’s preference that he date Vietnamese women. During the performance, Phan repeatedly wondered whether he was offending his audience.
“Usually people are clapping or laughing here,” Phan said after one joke, involving impersonations of his family. Measured applause followed.
Still, six of eight students interviewed were satisfied with the performances by the end of the night.
“I thought he was really funny,” said Kimberly Ton ’10, chair of the Vietnamese Student Association.
Ton added that although his jokes were often centered on Asians, “they were broad enough and about things that everyone can relate to — like parents.”
Four of eight students interviewed said that they preferred Kahaney to Phan, saying they could relate more easily to Kahaney’s humor, centered on parents and teenagers, than to Phan’s.
Kahaney opened for Phan, drawing laughs — and sometimes cringes — with her impersonations of her teenage daughter and her daughter’s friend, “Elizabeth the Slut.” Kahaney’s set ran smoothly save for interruptions from a malfunctioning microphone.
YSAC Chair Colin Leatherbury ’09 estimated that turnout was slightly less than last year, though he did not have exact figures Sunday night.
He said that YSAC accomplished their goal of saving money on the Fall Show to put toward a winter show, which, in a YSAC survey earlier this fall, a majority of responding students said they wanted.