Regan performs clean comedy at Egyptian


By Kevin Bartelt

If comedian Brian Regan was stranded on an island, he’d have to be asked to leave.

Regan performs at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 6 at the Egyptian Theatre, 135 N. Second St. Tickets are $39.75.

Regan spoke to the Northern Star about his style, first shows and what attendees should expect at today’s show.

Northern Star: With your comedy, do you write down what you see during the day or do you have a different approach when writing material?

Brian Regan: I don’t walk around with a notebook. I don’t go out looking for comedy. I just kind of do what I normally would be doing. And I like now that these iPhones have that Notepad app. So, if I see something or do something, I can just pull out my iPhone, jot something down really quickly. …When you get a handful of ideas like that, you … try to craft them together into something you feel like you can throw out on stage and take it from there.

NS: Growing up, being one of eight must have been pretty hectic. Were your siblings a big inspiration for your comedy?

BR: Yeah. I mean, my mom and dad are still alive and they have, you know, the eight kids. And everyone in my family is funny. My mom and dad are funny … not that when I was a kid, I didn’t think I was going to grow up to be a comedian. But I just know that we used to enjoy making each other laugh. It was a big part of growing up, and I’m sure I was influenced by that.

NS: What was your first show like?

BR: Well, there a few different first shows … There was … the first time at a stand-up comedy club, but then prior to that there were experiences that I had, mostly in college, where I was like emceeing college activities and things like that. Or I was part of a talent show or … sometimes I was going on as a comedian and sometimes I was just kind of emceeing something and being funny within that. So, um, but when you’re called a comedian, when they hang that title, the expectations … go through the roof, you know? So sometimes it was just easier to like say like ‘Hey, I’m emceeing a dorm roommate game.’ And all I have to do is host it. And if I happen to be funny, great. But if you say ‘This next guy is going to be funny for 20 minutes,’ you have to be funny.

NS: Holds a standard for you?

BR: Yeah … so please don’t anywhere in that article say I’m going to be funny in town. Tell them I’m going to talk.

NS: Emcee Brian Regan?

BR: And if they happen to laugh every now and then, they’ll go, “Hey, wow, that was crazy.”

NS: You’re known for your clean comedy. Is that a conscious choice?

BR: Well, yes and no. I mean, I just kind of work that way organically, anyway. But, … when I first started, I had a handful of jokes that would be considered “dirty” or “blue” or whatever word you want to use. But then I got to where I was like “Why be 95 percent something when you can be 100 percent something?” So I just decided to work 100 percent clean — at least as far as I describe it. …I might use the “hell” word or the “damn” word, and to some people that’s dirty, you know what I mean? But for me, that’s still within the clean realm. And I just enjoy working that way just for the fun of it, the challenge of it…. It has nothing to do with being Johnny Wholesome or anything like that. It’s just, to me it’s like a painter might want to paint with oils, as a comedian, I like to just like to work with clean concepts, which is fun. But while I’m painting, if I stub my toe, I will curse up a storm.

NS: Do you perform an entire new set with each tour or do you like to keep old jokes in the routine? And by old jokes, I mean the classics.

BR: Well, the main part of my show is the hour. I come out and do the hour, and I try that to be, I usually have that be the most recent stuff I’ve been doing. I don’t guarantee to people if they saw me a year or two earlier that they’re not going to see some stuff that they’ve seen before. But then at the end of the show, I usually come out and do another five or 10 minutes, and sometimes people request things at that point. And then I’ll do some of the older material that they might be more familiar with. And, I don’t mind as long as there’s a line in the sand like that, you know? Like, “Hey, I want to do my show, but I wouldn’t mind doing some of the older stuff.” But I wouldn’t want my whole show to be older stuff because then it would get boring for me and I think for the audience, too.

NS: You’re stranded on an island. What three things are you bringing with you?

BR: I’m bringing … a boat. And I’m bringing a map. And I’m bringing a captain. And the first thing I’m going to say is “Captain, get me off this island.” But… to answer in a [spirited] thing, a good musical system…. This is under the assumption that you’re not going to be rescued for a long time. No, you need to have music. And you need to have a battery source so the music doesn’t run out after a day and a half. Or maybe I would just have a band. I would have a band that plays … cover hits.

NS: Like “The Best of…” tribute band?

BR: Yeah, like “The Best of…” tribute band. And they need to be pretty good. I need to be able to go, “You know, I feel like hearing some Genesis.” And I just tell them that and they go “Hey, no problem.” And they just kind of crank it out for you. Then I would want a chef who has a full kitchen at his disposal.

NS: This is an extravagant island.

BR: Yeah… And then, my third thing is I would want there to be a weekly bikini contest…. Where there’s like 50 bikini-clad women … brought in to have a bikini contest. So, I’d listen to the music, I’d eat the meals and I’d watch the bikini contest.

NS: This sounds more like a vacation.

BR: I hope they don’t take me off that island.

NS: What should the audience at the Egyptian Theatre expect?

BR: Well, I’m going to have music. I’m going to have a chef. And there’s going to be a bikini contest…. Well, there’s going to be music. There’s going to be dancing. And there’s going to be comedy. Or, one-third, I promise one-third of that.