If laughter is truly the best medicine than U students and comedy lovers alike are in for a treat when the king of sarcastic and self-deprecating humor, Brian Regan, makes a house call to Salt Lake City at the Vivint Smart Home Arena on March 18th and the 19th.
“I’m trying to do what is funny to me,” says Brian Regan in an exclusive interview with The Daily Utah Chronicle. “I find it way to challenging to try and figure out what billions of people think is funny. But I can figure out what makes me laugh and so I get on stage and do my stuff and hope the audience agrees.”
Apparently audiences agree with his unique brand of quirky clean humor as his nearly non-stop theater tour has been visiting nearly 80 cities each year since 2005 including a record setting five sold-out shows at Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake City in March of 2010.
Regan admits that he is not exactly sure how he is able to come up with the jokes that have catapulted him to fame but that it’s simply something he happens to be good at. He relates that he is fortunate to be able to look at a something and sometimes see the funny in it.
“If it were in mathematical terms the subset of what I think is funny and what the audience thinks is funny match up,” continues Regan. “It’s like one of those Venn diagrams. Here is the circle of things I like and you guys also like this so that becomes my act.”
Regan is a true connoisseur of his craft which is part of the reason he is revered by other comedians as he has been able to tour solely on the strength of his stand up despite never starring in his own television show or movie. One of his comedic strengths is his ability to make comedic transitions from one bit to another which can be very difficult. Regan admits that sometime he enjoys observing how other comedians make their own transitions much more than their act.
“Audiences don’t always need a lot to get from A to Z as long as there is a logical connection,” says Regan. “Sometimes it doesn’t have to be logical. I never knew how to get into my sports chunk and so I would just say ‘hey it’s a great time for sports’ and somehow the audience would just shrug and think it must be a great time for sports.”
Regan is also famous for forging out a successful career using clean humor as opposed to the more profane humor that many comedians use now days. Regan relates that he has no problem with vulgar comedy as long as it’s organic and truthful for the comedian. He says that audiences are easily “titillated” by dirty comedy and that many comedians gravitate in that direction because they know it will get the audience to react.
“I’m not as intrigued by that type of approach and so for me it just isn’t truthful or organic and so it’s not my message on stage,” says Regan. “But that’s my own personal comedic message and I don’t say that anyone should not do dirty comedy it’s just not what I want to do.”
Regan shares many of the same comedic traits as fellow clean humorist Jerry Seinfeld and sometimes they have even shared some of the same topics. Regan appeared on the first season of Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” and even though at the time he didn’t know what he was getting into he relates that “when Seinfeld calls you to do something it’s like being a firefighter, you just run to the pole and slide down. You don’t question it.”
During the filming they discovered they had wrote similar jokes about putting a man on the moon and have also shared jokes about Pop Tarts in their routines.
“Topics are fair game. You can’t say I talk about food therefore you can’t talk about food,” says Regan. “You have to be careful to make sure what your doing is unique.”
Regan doesn’t have to be concerned about not being unique as his own brand of humor is exactly what sets him apart from other less successful comedians. But like anything in life worth doing Regan works hard on fine tuning his craft and not becoming satisfied with resting on his laurels.
“You have to be diligent and careful not to get lazy. I think it’s very easy for someone to come up with an hour of material and go okay I’m set for my career. I think it’s important to keep replenishing,” says Regan. “As much as I like it when people come up to me after my shows and say I thought what you did tonight was funny I also like when people come up to me after shows and say what you did tonight was new and to me that’s a compliment.”
One of the ways Regan is able to keep things fresh is that he is constantly finding humor in his everyday interactions and while they don’t always seem funny at first, sometimes they end up becoming part of his stand-up routine. Regan relates that origins for one of his funniest bits about being asked to sign up for a rewards card came from a trip to a Game Stop with his son. Despite his best efforts to just buy the game the sales clerk wouldn’t sell him it to him without signing him up for a rewards card. Regan kept telling him that he didn’t want free stuff and eventually a manager had to come over and approve the sale without a rewards card.
“It was absurd to me that I had to fight for my right just to buy something in their store,” says Regan. “Thats when it came to a tipping point. They say comedy equals tragedy plus time. That wasn’t funny when it happened but it was funny later when I was driving home.”
Regan is a comedian who truly enjoys fine tuning the art of his chosen craft and he was more than willing to offer a few tips for college students who aspire to be comedians.
“Try to be careful not to figure out what audiences want. Your job is to tell audiences what you think is funny and not what they already think is funny,” says Regan. “You’re not going to get on stage and tickle people. You have to tell them thoughts and ideas that you have and hope that they have never thought of that before and think it’s funny.”
When asked about his upcoming Salt Lake City performance Regan jokingly said he was going to resist the temptation to go out with a clipboard and write down what everyone thinks is funny and then get back on stage and push those buttons.
“I’m just a citizen of this earth like we all are. I can find the funny in things sometimes and I like to share them with others,” says Regan.
Tickets for Brian Regan’s upcoming tour to Salt Lake City on March 18th and the 19th can be purchased online at his website at http://brianregan.com/tour/