The Untold Truth Of Dan Ahdoot

What makes a good food-show host? Some of the more entertaining TV hosts in the food world do know a thing or two about the subject matter — think Gordon Ramsay or the late Anthony Bourdain. But these two, and other successful hosts, also brought another key ingredient: personality. Guy Fieri carries multiple food shows with nothing more than his megawatt persona. He never had any formal culinary training (via Showbiz Cheat Sheet).

That's why Food Network may have found another gem in Dan Ahdoot. Like Fieri, he's no master chef (although he sometimes calls himself a foodie), but Ahdoot has developed TV host-level energy as a standup comic. It's a career he chose against the wishes of his Iranian Jewish parents, who wanted him to become a doctor, according to STL Jewish Light. The drastic change of course may not have pleased Ahdoot's parents, but it paid off. Not only did he find success in standup, but he also landed several plum television roles. Furthermore, his "Green Eggs and Dan" podcast is the No. 1 food podcast in the U.S., according to Ahdoot's website.

"Green Eggs and Dan" features freewheeling conversations about food with celebrities, many of whom are Ahdoot's friends. To break the ice every week, Ahdoot's guests all bring a photo of the inside of their refrigerator. Turns out this was excellent preparation for Ahdoot's new Food Network gig. According to the network's website, he's hosting a new food competition show called "Raid the Fridge."

Ahdoot chose a career in standup comedy, against his family's wishes

Around 2000, at the age of 21, Dan Ahdoot abandoned plans to go to medical school in order to pursue comedy, according to STL Jewish Light. "My whole family was basically against it, but I used that as a motivation to prove them wrong," Ahdoot said. He found success in comedy clubs by mining his identity as an Iranian Jew post-9/11, and he wound up as a finalist on NBC's "Last Comic Standing" in 2004. He then hit the road, taking his routine to U.S. colleges. As a guest on "Green Eggs and Dan" in 2019, fellow comedian Hasan Minhaj remembered some wisdom Ahdoot had given him about the university circuit: "You're performing for freshmen, like their welcome week," Minhaj was saying to Ahdoot. "You were like, 'If you're the guy who crushes at welcome week, you're not a good standup comedian.'" Ahdoot's point was that you can only go so far in your career with bad-roommate jokes.

A series of clips on Laugh Factory's YouTube channel provides a window into Ahdoot's more mature standup work. He occasionally riffed on racial stereotypes, with the ultimate goal of poking fun at himself or his audience. In one clip, Ahdoot goes off on "Mythbusters." He joked that the TV series was starting to test some off-the-wall stuff — like whether Mexicans were immune to electricity or puppies were immune to bullets. None of this was true, of course. Ahdoot was just setting up his punchline: He chided the audience for showing more concern for the puppies.

Dan Ahdoot has the No. 1 food podcast

It seems like everyone and their uncle has a podcast these days. Mike Tyson has a podcast. Macaulay Culkin had one. Even Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen got together to make a podcast, for some reason. Dan Ahdoot is no exception. When Ahdoot launched his podcast in July 2019, he was a well-established comedian and TV actor. But the topic he chose for his "Green Eggs and Dan" podcast was food. "Comedy is my day job, food is my passion," Ahdoot told Variety.

Ahdoot was introduced to the foodie life by his father, as he explained to podcast guest Hasan Minhaj during a 2019 episode. His father had attended college in Switzerland, which gave the elder Ahdoot a European sensibility around food. "He was very, very into good restaurants. It kind of rubbed off on you," Ahdoot said. Ahdoot himself has a complicated relationship with his status as a foodie. Vulture said he prefers the term "foodish." 

"I like being a foodie, I hate the word 'foodie.' Isn't it pretentious?" Ahdoot says in a standup bit at Laugh Factory (via YouTube). "If you want to see how pretentious the word 'foodie' is, try explaining what it means to someone from a third-world country." Ahdoot told Variety he would strive to discuss food on "Green Eggs and Dan" without being pretentious, saying, "I love to get grimy."

Ahdoot landed a recurring TV role at Disney XD

Dan Ahdoot parlayed comedy success into a TV career. He had a recurring role in Rebel Wilson's 2013-14 sitcom "Super Fun Night," which only lasted one season, according to the show's IMDb page. Ahdoot had a longer run on the preteen-targeted Disney XD show "Kickin' It," about schoolkids who did karate, per that show's IMDb page. From 2011 to 2015, Ahdoot played Falafel Phil, owner of a Middle Eastern-style shopping-mall restaurant frequented by the show's child stars. Ahdoot used an exaggerated accent and dropped lines like, "You're not pulling the yak fur over my seeing balls" (via YouTube). Ahdoot looked back on that role in January 2021, on an episode of the Popternative podcast. "It's sort of racist in hindsight but still, yeah, very fun," he said.

Ahdoot's next starring role on TV was in "Bajillion Dollar Propertie$," on the doomed NBC streaming service Seeso (via Deadline). "Bajillion" featured Ahdoot and his co-stars as ruthless Beverly Hills real estate agents, according to AV Club. After Seeso folded, "Bajillion" got new life and a fourth season on Pluto TV, but new episodes haven't aired since 2019.

Ahdoot also has writing credit on a movie, 2018's "Public Disturbance." You're not likely to find Ahdoot bragging about this straight-to-streaming feature. "Public Disturbance" didn't have enough critics' reviews to rate a score on Rotten Tomatoes, but viewers who sounded off on the Rotten Tomatoes website panned it. "Literally the worst movie in history," an audience review said. "Please get my lost time back."

Dan Ahdoot loves being on the cast of Cobra Kai

Dan Ahdoot joked with the host of the Popternative podcast about how he found his niche in TV shows with a karate theme. First there was the tween-oriented "Kickin' It" on Disney XD, and then there was "Cobra Kai," the "Karate Kid" sequel/reboot that blew up on Netflix during the COVID-19 pandemic (via The New York Times). As Ahdoot told Popternative host Petey Beats, "It just hits all those nostalgia neurons in your brain, so perfectly. ... I'm in complete awe of how they're able to weave this story and turn the 'Karate Kid' into basically like 'Game of Thrones.' It's wild."

Ahdoot plays Anoush on "Cobra Kai," a salesman at Ralph Macchio's character's car dealership. Anoush doesn't get a lot of screen time and mostly serves as comic relief. Even so, Ahdoot is more than satisfied with the role. "I've told my reps, you are carving out time for 'Cobra Kai,'" he said on the podcast. "This is something that I just have to be a part of."

Ahdoot made time for another Netflix series this year. "The Crew," a Kevin James vehicle (pardon the pun) about an auto-racing team, premiered in February, according to NASCAR. Netflix canceled the show after one season, per The Hollywood Reporter.

Ahdoot will host the new Food Network show Raid the Fridge

It's not likely robots will replace chefs. Sure, a robot chef named Moley can learn and execute more than 5,000 recipes (via New Atlas). But a good chef can do what no robot can, at least not yet: turn whatever happens to be on hand into a gourmet meal. Heck, that's the whole premise of the TV series "Chopped," with its mystery baskets.

The new show "Raid the Fridge," hosted by Dan Ahdoot, is "Chopped" with a couple twists. Instead of getting identical ingredients from identical baskets, chefs competing in "Raid the Fridge" must make a dish from the contents of separate refrigerators, according to FN Dish. Each refrigerator holds different ingredients and looks different on the outside, too, displaying their own magnets, family photos, and artwork. What do the decorations on a refrigerator door say about what might be inside? Would a contestant do well to choose a family of four's refrigerator, or a bachelor's? See for yourself, starting September 1 on Food Network.

While Ahdoot thinks "Cobra Kai" is a cool gig, he is over the moon about "Raid the Fridge." 

"When asked by my reps what my dream job is, I'd say to host on the Food Network," Ahdoot said on Instagram. "I visualize having Jello shots at the holiday party with Guy Fieri. Guy, let's get the molds ready." The two food TV hosts with a ton of personality probably would get along great.