Actor, Writer & Producer
Andrew Phung is actor, improviser, writer, host, and comedian original from Calgary, Alberta. He’s best known for his portrayal of Kimchee Han on the hit comedy series Kim’s Convenience. Currently, Andrew is the creator and star of the comedy series Run the Burbs on the CBC and CW.
Meet the Trailblazer
What drives you?
Honestly, just the opportunity to be creative. Creativity makes me feel alive. It gives me purpose and makes me smile. The opportunity to do this, and specifically within comedy, means everything to me. I discovered comedy as a teen, and I was told I could never do this as a job. Here I am all these years, doing it as a job. It feels like the ultimate win.
Who impacted your career the most?
My parents had such a huge impact. I watched them work so hard in their business, and that work ethic rubbed off on me. They support me in everything I do, and I’m so lucky for that. My wife, who’s watched so many improv shows in church basements. She was there from the beginning, cheering me on, and encouraging me. My friends who’d come to my shows. My improv teachers who gave me all the tools to become a better performer. Fellow actors who I could just watch and sponge talent from. It’s hard to pin point, but I can honestly say my family, friends, and fellow performers impacted everything about my career.
How did you build the team around you?
I value loyalty, and I want to work with kind and talented people. I carry that with me wherever I go, and some how it’s worked. I’ve been able to work with the best people. The cast, crew, writing team, and creative team on Run the Burbs is an example of that. It’s many friends I’ve made from improv, acting, Kim’s Convenience, and more, all rolled up into an incredible team.
What was your best experience in this business?
I have so many wonderful moments. So many amazing scenes, shows, conversations, interactions. It’s a career filled with joy, and that’s what I remember and cherish. But, honestly, nothing beats coming to set with a crew that is happy and excited to be there, working with a cast that is so talented, on a show that I co-created.
Is there a theme in the work you do or choose?
In the beginning, I just wanted to make people laugh. Laughter brings me so much joy and the idea I could make people smile and enjoy the moment really motivated me. As I get older, I think it’s merging comedy with storytelling. I want to use comedy as a tool to tell relatable stories.
Was it luck or strategy that helped you find success?
It has to be a bit of both. I’ve worked my butt off to get here. When I started doing improv, I was at the Loose Moose Theatre three times a week, every week for over a decade. I didn’t go out to the bar with friends, and skipped out on parties, to be at the theatre. I took all the classes possible, and watched all the shows that were happening. Into my 20’s I learned how to produce and develop my own shows and never stopped.
But, alongside the work is a lot of luck. Meeting really great people who inspired me, and took the time to mentor and teach me along the way. It was my boss at the Leisure Centre who made sure I had Friday and Saturday off to go do improv, it was my 1st Artistic Director who always took time to mentor and teach me, it was older performers who were always there to give me advice.
Then when I got into TV and Film, it was all the amazing performers, directors, producers, who were always there when I had a question or wanted to pitch an idea.
Did you ever give up hope that you’d make it?
So many times! I can’t even count. I wanted to give up this morning! It’s part of my process. It’s always evolving and I constantly question myself. It happened a lot during the start of my comedic journey. But, each and every time I knew I wanted to keep going.
What was your worst experience in this business?
I really don’t want to dwell or talk about this. I’ve had lots of not-great moments, but I don’t focus on that. I honestly just try to move on and continue working on begin the best version of myself, while doing a job that was literally a dream of mine since I was 15.
Advice to someone just starting out?
What project are you most proud of?
I get asked this a lot and it’s usually the same answer. Do it because you love it. I love comedy, and I love acting. I did these things while working a full time job. They were side hustles, and I was lucky to make them my main hustle. But, I would happily do it if it didn’t make me a dime. Come on, I did improv in Calgary. I was dozens of dollars! But seriously, my advice is to do it because you love it. When you love it, it brings you joy, and that’s what really matters.
This is hard to answer. I’m so proud of everything I’ve done because I was literally told I wouldn’t be able to do these things. But, the success of Kim’s Convenience, and the opportunity to create and make Run the Burbs stand out as the things I’m most proud of.
Was Reelworld instrumental in your career? AND/OR Did Reelworld inspire you in any way?
Tell us about your next project.
I’ve always used this festival to gauge who was doing cool stuff in Canada. At times it’s hard to maintain a connection with your fellow creatives and a festival like Reelworld continues to highlight and spotlight people doing cool things and telling important stories.
I’m currently filming season 3 of Run the Burbs and I’m so excited for people to see it!
Give us a quote that will inspire emerging talent.
What are you most proud of in your career?
“When in doubt, make a Backstreet Boys reference. Everyone loves a good BSB reference.”
A loving family, great friends, and the opportunity to do what I love.