By Noe Gutierrez
On July 16th at 8 p.m. at The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage, California, Brian Regan will be performing his unique brand of stand-up storytelling and physical comedy to an expected sell-out crowd. There are still tickets available for purchase as low as $55. You can purchase at www. hotwatercasino.com.
Coachella Valley Weekly caught up with Regan on the phone as he prepared for a show that same night with some comedic heavy hitters and his first big show in the Coachella Valley. Regan has been involved in stand-up comedy since the early 80’s. Jerry Seinfeld calls Regan one of his “favorite, favorite stand-up comedians.”
Stand-up comedy has developed over its life span to include diverse comics like Regan. “Music, movies and everything entertainment evolves. Comedy is like that. It keeps changing over the years. When I was a kid, most comedians were one-liner types; Rodney Dangerfield, Joan Rivers, etc. They told jokes that had nothing to do with their ‘real selves’. As comedy evolved it got much more personal. Who knows where it’s headed. It’s fun to watch the changes.” Regan is gratified with his place in comedy history and enjoys helping others through his comedy.
Regan shared about his involvement in the ‘Comics Support Their Own’ event that raised money for comedian Bobby Slaton. “Bobby is a comedian who has been around a long time. His wife passed away a couple of months ago. Someone asked me if I would be interested in doing a benefit for Bobby and I said of course. Then I found out a lot of other comedians are doing the same. There are about seven comedians on the show tonight and they’re all big names except for me, ha ha. On the bill is Jon Lovitz, Dana Carvey, Ray Romano, Bill Burr, Arsenio Hall. I’m looking at all their bios and most of them say ‘Emmy Award Winner’ and I’m like, what’s my intro gonna be, ‘our next act is the only guy on this stage who has not won an Emmy award.’” Despite having no Emmy, Regan has established himself as extraordinary.
Regan is well-known for his ability to use observational, sarcastic and self-deprecating humor in his show. “It’s tricky. The hard part of being a stand-up comedian is not the funny part, it’s the set-up.” When you walk on stage there’s nothing there. There are no pins set up. You gotta set up the pins and then you gotta knock ‘em down. That’s the hard part is being the pin setter.” Regan’s material frequently covers everyday experiences. “I split it up. Some of the stuff is true. I say that it’s true, which makes me wonder if I don’t say it’s true are people thinking it’s a bunch of B.S. ha ha. I think for comedy to work it has to be grounded in reality. There has to be some truth to it. That doesn’t mean you can’t get silly or goofy in a punch line.”
The use of body language and facial expressions make Regan’s stand-up act exceptionally physical. “I’m not as aware of my physicality as people might think. My jokes, if you look at them, are like little vignettes. They’re pieces that I perform. They’re tiny plays and I’m the only one in the play. It’s usually me and another character. I have to act it out and the only way it will work is if I throw some action into it. I’m aware of the physicality but I don’t pay too much attention.” Regan’s physical comedy has endured over three decades.
Regan’s first live appearance was on the ‘The Late Show with David Letterman’ in 1995. “The first time I was standing behind the curtain and my heart was pounding, David Letterman I have such strong feelings for. He was around a long time and he had me on his show several times. I’m happy he’s enjoying his retirement.” Regan has notched a total of 28 stand-up appearances on the ‘Late Show with David Letterman,’ the most of any comic. “I just did the ‘Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon’ this past week. I’ve done a number of appearances over the years. I guess the difference for me is because I’ve done a number of them I don’t get quite as petrified as I used to. It’s a big deal. A lot of people are watching and you get to the point where you still get nervous. That’s what life is about, doing things that make you nervous. It’s not so debilitating and nervous these days.”
If you miss Regan’s performance at The Show, be sure to purchase ‘Brian Regan: Live from Radio City Music Hall.’ It’s available as a CD and a download.