The Hippo


Aug 22, 2019








Brian Regan. Photo by Jerry Metellus.

Brian Regan

When: Thursday, Oct. 2, at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Capitol Center for the Arts, 44 S. Main St., Concord
Tickets: $45 at 

Everyday laughs
Brian Regan keeps it clean and funny

By Michael Witthaus

Though plenty of sold-out shows attest to Brian Regan’s fan base, his fellow comics may love him more. Comedian Patton Oswalt described Regan on his blog as “the best stand-up working today, period,” and Marc Maron called him “the guy people look up to” when Regan was a guest on Maron’s WTF podcast. Jerry Seinfeld invited him to be one of his first guests on his über-popular Web series, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee

Since 1995, the comic has appeared a record 26 times on The Late Show With David Letterman — “I’ll take all of that guy you got,” Letterman said at one point. The first was the most memorable, Regan said in a recent phone interview. 
“It was a thrill to get on the show,” he said. “What’s almost as exciting is finding out that they liked you and they want you back.”
Regan wins audiences over with an average guy shtick that’s hilariously self-deprecating, a technique he learned as a child. 
“It’s a defense mechanism to make fun of yourself before anyone else,” he said. “Like I had to go to school with brand new braces, so I walked in and did five minutes on them before anyone else did. ‘Check out the new train track here’ — I had everyone laughing.”
Tongue in cheek, Regan claims that being funny was a matter of survival as the middle kid in an eight-child family. 
“At dinner, if you didn’t get people’s attention, no one would pass the food your way,” he said. “So I would crack my jokes. ‘Hey, do I get to eat?’ They’d say, ‘Give him some fish sticks, let him live another day.’”  
Regan is also known as a clean comic, never waxing scatological or dropping the f-bomb, but he’s bemused by the attention that garners. 
“People get the wrong idea, like I have some kind of mission statement to go against the grain,” he said. “It’s a medium to me. I enjoy it. I like to do my comedy by talking about everyday things.”   
He stores ideas in his iPhone. 
“I jot things down; some are not funny,” he said while scrolling through a new list — today, he’s pondering behavior tolerated on the Internet that can’t fly elsewhere. “I play Words With Friends and they want you to nudge people. The game suggests you be a jerk to others! It’s a rude concept. Where would it take you in real life? Like people would really say, ‘Hey, you want to nudge your cousin?’”
Regan steers clear of politics and doesn’t say much about his personal life in his act. 
“I’ve never done an overly autobiographical kind of show, just enough so people know who is talking to them,” he said. 
Riffing on a trip to Disney World with his teenage son and ‘tween daughter is as far as he goes. 
“I also don’t want my kids to feel like I’m following them around with a notebook, so I deal with it but not too much.”
Watching him ride around L.A. with Seinfeld in a 1970 Dodge Challenger TA proves that there’s not much funnier than two comics commiserating with each other; the former sitcom star agreed. 
“He’s told me how much he loves doing Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee because of how organic it is. … The TV world always requires some type of script and thought ahead of time,” said Regan. “He likes the idea of two guys with no real plans just hanging and talking.”  
Regan points to another big reason the webcast works. 
“Seinfeld does not get enough credit for being a great audience,” he said. “There are a lot of comedians that wrap too much ego around what they do and for some reason feel like they need to be the funniest person in the room, and they feel uncomfortable if somebody else is getting laughs. Seinfeld will laugh if he hears something funny. It’s a great feeling to make people laugh, and a even greater feeling to make someone like Jerry Seinfeld laugh.” 
As seen in the October 2, 2014 issue of the Hippo.

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