Comedy Spot taking money out of being funny
“I do not want to be famous,” Brian Regan, veteran stand-up comedian, says in the first episode of his Netflix show, “Stand Up and Away.”
“Now, I know that sounds weird coming from someone with cameras pointed at him. But famous people have to deal with weird stuff. A few years ago there was a plot to kidnap Russell Crowe. For the life of me I don’t know who would come up with a plot like that. Some guy sitting at his check book trying to pay bills ... ”
His facial expression changes – he puts his hand to his furrowed brow, clenches his teeth, shakes his head: the image of a man consumed by financial anxiety.
“Honey, I don’t know who we’re gonna pay this Visa bill,” he shouts, as if into the next room. He strokes his chin with his hand, pained. A few moments pass.
He looks up, playing the fool’s enlightenment. “Oh, yes I do.”
Regan, whose career has spanned four decades, seven hour-long TV specials and a Netflix series — and who is, unfortunately for him, famous — is coming to Crest Theatre on June 27. Entertainment Weekly called him “your favorite comedian’s favorite comedian” — Jerry Seinfeld executive produced Stand Up and Away.
Regan started out in college speech class, of all places, where he tried to make his classmates laugh. They did, especially his teacher, who would howl from the back of the room. “I remember thinking, ‘Wow, I never impressed a teacher in my life,’” he told the Bee in an interview. It felt good. “So that’s when I started thinking about going into comedy.”
When asked what kept him going through the decades, he said, “I love the honesty of communication. There’s something very honest about a laugh. People can take all kinds of reactions in life and apply them to all kinds of things — they can smile and not mean it. But rarely do people fake laughs. So when you get people laughing, you can trust that. It’s a very true, real connection.
“And the people that cause that laughter feel sensational.”
Regan’s comedy is known, among other things, for being clean and suitable for all ages. But he didn’t set out to keep his act clean. “I just like to talk about everyday things when I’m on stage. It’s about how much mileage I can get without hitting certain buzzwords and certain topics. It’s a challenge for me,” he told the Bee.
Decades of experience might come with the danger of growing stale, but Regan keeps it fresh. “There’s an expression called mailing it in, for when a comedian has his act too memorized. You want to make the audience feel like you’re saying it for the first time, even though you may have said it hundreds of times. You want to make that audience feel like you’re there for them.
“I do it for me too. I enjoy feeling like this is happening, right here, right now.”
Regan will perform at 7:30 p.m. on June 27 at Crest Theatre. His stand-up and sketch comedy hybrid show, Stand Up and Away, is available on Netflix. He also stars in “Loudermilk” on Audience Network, which has been renewed for a third season.