By Alexandra Civorelli
Once known as Falafel Phil, the wacky but lovable restaurant owner on Disney XD’s Kickin’ It, former Great Neck resident Dan Ahdoot is going by a new name and entirely different character these days on the new spoof reality show, Bajillion Dollar Propertie$.
Premiering on Seeso, NBCUniversal’s new comedy streaming service, Bajillion Dollar Propertie$ is a semi-scripted, often improvised eight-part comedy series about a luxury Los Angeles real estate firm. The show follows seven Realtors comprised of a cast of comedians, including Ahdoot, who’s playing the character of Amir Yaghoob, a real estate agent—and the ultimate con man.
“[Yaghoob] is a super, super insecure character,” Ahdoot explained, and a well-dressed smooth-talker who’s constantly running scams on his clients.
Although not new to the acting game—in addition to his recurring role on Kickin’ It, Ahdoot has had guest appearances on shows like Workaholics and Super Fun Night—working on this show was a unique experience since it’s not fully scripted. “It’s an improvised show and I didn’t have to spend any time to memorize lines,” Ahdoot said, which was a definite plus for him.
In addition to working with the regular cast, which includes Ryan Gaul and Paul F. Tompkins, there will be several guest appearances throughout the season, including stars like Nick Kroll, Adam Scott, Gillian Jacobs and Weird Al Yankovic.
In one of the episodes, Ahdoot worked with guest star Steven Yeun, best known for his portrayal of Glenn Rhee on The Walking Dead. “[Steven Yeun] plays a drug addict,” and Yaghoob, the real estate agent, needs to him to sign a paper, “but he’s always too stoned to sign…it was hilarious [working with him],” Ahdoot recalled.
In addition to the many guest stars, Ahdoot said the show’s regular cast and writers are just as much fun and as talented to work with day in and day out. “I’m working with some of the best improvisers in the country, it’s really been an honor…it’s by the far the funniest show I’ve ever worked on, and that includes [being] Falafel Phil on the Disney channel,” he deadpanned.
Heavily involved in the comedy world, Ahdoot is not just an actor; he’s also a stand-up comedian and a writer. In fact, Ahdoot started off his career in stand up while he was in Baltimore as a premed student at John Hopkins.
“[I did] stand-up comedy in Baltimore while I was in college and basically stand up was a perfect base, like a primer coat for all the other stuff; it taught me how to write, it taught me comic timing…knowing how to entertain an audience and knowing how to give an audience what they want helps immensely with any type of comedy.”
After discovering his talents as a comedian, Ahdoot left medicine behind and moved to Los Angeles, but he’s still grateful for the time he spent as a premed student. “I’m glad I went [to John Hopkins], because I think it created the work ethic in me,” he explained. And Ahdoot certainly has a great work ethic; he’s written for a number of TV shows, including MTV’s Short Circuitz and the A&E Roast of Gene Simmons, as well as continuing his stand-up career, having performed stand up in all 50 states, making guest appearances on late-night comedy shows like The Tonight Show and Comics Unleashed, as well as regularly appearing in comedy clubs in both LA and NY.
Ahdoot grew up in Great Neck and still remembers it fondly, saying that, “Great Neck was highly competitive, the schools were as good as it gets, and even though it’s a bubble, it was a pretty nice bubble to grow up in.” Although he thought he was going to pursue medicine after graduating South High School, Ahdoot was always attracted to comedy growing up; that flame was fanned by the fact that Great Neck is less than a 40-minute train ride to the city.
“Being in such proximity to the best comedy city in the world definitely shaped the bug,” he said, laughing as he divulged that he would often cut school, or pretend to sleep over a friend’s house, and instead go to the city to see comedy shows.
As a jack of many trades, when asked to pick what he liked to do best among writing, acting and performing, he joked, “That’s like asking who my favorite child is.” Ahdoot explained that he could never choose, as each project offers him something. “I think I enjoy the solitary of writing where I can get into my head…acting has been so much fun, it’s like playing all day long and stand up offers the most pure expression of me.”
In addition to his stand up, writing credits and new role on Bajillion Dollar Propertie$, Ahdoot recently sold a sitcom of his own creation called Dan Derailed to FOX.
The idea for the show was drawn from his own experiences. It’s about how, shortly after moving to LA, “I thought I was going to be the next Seinfeld,” and he ended up on the Disney Channel, which was “the complete opposite of what I thought my career was going to be,” Ahdoot explained. “The sitcom is about my life getting derailed and [ending up as] a hacky character on a kids’ show.”
Still a new project in the works, Ahdoot couldn’t reveal more about the show, but to learn more about Ahdoot, keep up with his current projects and find out about when he’ll be performing stand up next, check out his website at www.standupdan.com.