Q&A: Comedian Brian Regan
With a relatively new album to his credit, Las Vegas comedian Brian Regan returns to Avalon Theatre for a show at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 29.
Tickets to the show are $42.50 and are available at Livenation.com or at 800-745-3000.
Regan’s latest live album, “All By Myself” was released on CD in November 2011 and is available exclusively through BrianRegan.com. The live recording was part of his 2010 tour stop in Salt Lake City’s Abravanel Hall, where he sold out five straight shows.
In addition to the comedy album, Regan has released two Comedy Central specials — “The Epitome of Hyperbole” and “Brian Regan Standing Up.”
Regan took time from his schedule on a recent morning to talk on the phone about tour buses, dirty jokes and cool cartoons in advance of his show.
Melinda Mawdsley: Good morning. You start your morning with coffee?
Brian Regan: I have a cup of coffee. I call it my comedy fuel, but there’s no guarantee it will make me funny.
Mawdsley: Where are you right now? On the road?
Regan: No. I’m home in Las Vegas.
Mawdsley: I bet Las Vegas is a jackpot of comedic material. Pun intended.
Regan: Actually, when I’m here I’m in family mode. I’ve got two wonderful kids. People don’t do the touristy stuff where they live. I don’t go around exploring Las Vegas when I’m here. I don’t really look for outrageous things. I like to look for every day mundane things, things everybody does but no one else sees the comedy in it. ... I’ve been a stand-up comedian for 30 years. It’s weird even saying that. I started in 1981. That was before planes and automobiles. (Laughing). No. I think there’s always funny stuff out there. It’s just a question of tapping into it. I go through my normal world the way I would go through if I wasn’t a comedian. I just try to keep my antennae up. That’s where the stuff comes from.
Mawdsley: I just listened to a clip from your new album, the bit about getting older and just living in pain. How old are you? You don’t look that old.
Regan: First of all, thank you. I’m 53. I’m sort of fortunate I don’t look 53, but I feel it. (Laughing). Comedy-wise, if you aren’t talking about what’s real in your life, it’s hard to connect to yourself, and then, it’s hard for the audience. Even if the punch line is exaggerated, the comedy is real.
Mawdsley: I read that your comedy is clean, no swearing, no dirty jokes. Is that true?
Regan: That is true.
Regan: Clean to me, is not what a lot of people think. I do try to live a good, honest life, but I’m capable of some dark thoughts and harsh four-letter words. When a show’s over, and I hit a golf ball out of bounds, I can say things that won’t make my act. But, to me, clean comedy is a medium, like a painter with acrylics. I enjoy the challenge of trying to get people laughing without hitting certain words or certain subjects. It’s fun to me. I do try to make it clear that I don’t think it’s better or more valid than other sorts of comedians. I just like to do clean comedy.
Mawdsley: Is it more difficult to be a stand-up comedian without swearing and telling dirty jokes?
Regan: It can be. It depends on the situation. When I first started years ago, I decided I wanted to work clean, but it’s hard to follow somebody who’s not. The audience can get trained, and if the person before you is taking them down a certain alley, it’s hard to pull them out of that alley.
Mawdsley: You are known for being quite the touring comedian. I read more than 80 cities a year since 2005. How many cities are you visiting this year?
Regan: I don’t count. I go to maybe like 100 cities a year. I try to work every other weekend, but the weekends include Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. When you think about it, I’m home all the other days. I have the luxury that each night is in a different city. One night can be sort of similar to the next because the audience is different, but you are always trying to throw new stuff in there.
Mawdsley: You get to spend time with your kids then. I read you like the cartoon, “Phineas and Ferb.” That’s fantastic. Why do you like it so much?
Regan: I like watching things my kids (13 and 8) like to watch. I want to experience things with them, including humor. There’s a smart comedy associated with the show. Sometimes, people think cartoons for kids are simplistic, but there is some thought that goes into it. It’s clever. I enjoy it.
Mawdsley: What can people expect from your Grand Junction show?
Regan: I run across the stage as fast as I can and shout one joke. Depending on how long the stage is, my show is sometimes only two seconds long. People are so disappointed. (Laughing). I always have a comedian in front of me. I do an hour, and then usually I’ll come back and do a short encore, which tends to be older material that people still like to hear. Usually, my main hour is stuff more recent.
Mawdsley: Is that weird that people like old jokes?
Regan: Comedy by definition is supposed to have a surprise, so it doesn’t seem to make sense that people would enjoy to hear a bit when they know where it’s going, but I’m flattered that people do want to hear it again.
Mawdsley: Las Vegas really isn’t that far away. Do you drive or fly here?
Regan: I have a tour bus. There’s nothing on the outside. When I get off at stops, I’m not at a level where most people know who I am, so it’s funny getting off and have people looking past you to look for the star. Sometimes, people ask me whose bus it is. Occasionally, we’ll joke and make up a fake country star, and it’s amazing how many people go, ‘Oh, I love him!!’
Mawdsley: Well, thanks so much for your time and safe travels.
Regan: Thank you.