Brian Regan is a comedian who has been performing since the 1980s. He first got the bug to do comedy while in college at Heidelberg College in Ohio. He was majoring in Communication and Theatre Arts. When he heard the audiences' reaction to his comedic lines in a play he was in, Brian was hooked. Ever since then, Brian has been working at refining his talent and entertaining audiences all over. He continues to draw sell-out crowds and a diverse audience. His comedy is the kind that many can relate to and you wouldn't be afraid to repeat to your boss or your children. Brian recently shared with me some of his memories of his career as well as his enthusiasm for comedy.
Many comedians describe themselves as the family/class clown, etc. Was comedy always present in your life? What was the first time you performed onstage? Tell us about it.
Yes, comedy was always present in my house. My mom and my dad are funny. They had 8 children and are all funny; I being one of them. Comedy at the beginning, at least the way I tried it, had a fictional quality to it. It was weird because I'd be onstage in front of all my friends and saying, "So, I'm on a bus this morning…" And they're like, "No you weren't." And I'm like, "No, no, no, I know I really wasn't but just kind of pretend I was." "Well, it's kinda hard for us to do that." I thought, "Wow, I need to try this in front of strangers."
You have 2 children right? How old are they now?
My boy is 13 and my girl is 8.
What do they think about Dad doing this all the time?
I think they're proud of their Daddy. It makes me feel really cool. I take them with me quite often when I travel on my road gigs. They hang around backstage. They go from town to town with me. Not all the time, but once every couple of months I take them on a road weekend with me. I think it's pretty cool and I like to think they think it's pretty cool too.
Do you try out new material on them?
I do. Not so much to see whether or not it's something I'm going to try out onstage, but whenever you think of something new, you want to bounce it off the people who are closest to you and that often times in my kids. I'll just say it and they obviously have the kid perspective on things. I don't use whether or not they think it's funny as a deciding factor but it's just fun to bounce things off them.
Your shows are really family friendly. Everyone can attend. Children attend, grandmas and grandpas attend; is there a reason you choose to keep your show that way?
To me it's just fun performing the way I do. It wasn't for any reason other than I get a kick out of seeing if I can make people laugh out of everyday kind of topics. It just happens to be clean. There are comedians out there who are blue or dirty who I think are great. They're doing their thing, I'm doing my thing. What's funny, you mentioned earlier about the different people that come to the shows. I think that because it's clean, some people feel comfortable bringing younger people or even older people. I was performing somewhere and a family came backstage that included their 80 something year old grandmother. She was very sweet. And she said to me, "So how long have you been in Vaudeville?" "Since 1920, I guess." Vaudeville, that was hysterical.
Who most inspires you?
There are many comedians out there who are doing fun, interesting things. I tend to like people who are unique, forging their own paths. Maria Bamford is a comedian who does very interesting quirky characters; she's funny to me. Bill Burr; a comedian out of Boston he does…not rough…but he can throw some 4 letter words in there but he's got an interesting perspective on things and I think he's somebody who's going to be pretty big. I like Jerry Seinfeld for how he gets a lot of comedy out of very simple everyday things. I've always liked that. George Carlin, who's no longer with us, I admired his ability to write. He kept pumping out material. I liked him for his ability to keep cranking out new stuff.
You had an opportunity to be on the Johnny Carson show? What do you remember about that experience?