Brian Regan is, without a doubt, one of the funniest comedians performing stand-up today. He travels the country and, on Saturday, Dec. 7, will be coming to downtown Rochester.
For those who have not yet been introduced to Regan’s comedy, a quick YouTube search will bring up some of his biggest hits. Maybe you’ll discover a video of one of his 26 visits to “The Letterman Show.” Maybe his appearance on “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” will pop up. Or perhaps you’ll stumble upon one of his numerous recordings.
No matter what you watch, you’ll most likely be cracking up in less than a minute. A good place to start if you’re new to Regan: Search “Brian Regan pop tarts.” As college students, this is one we can definitely understand.
Many critics have commented on Regan’s clean sense of humor — he doesn’t use any profanity in his act.
“I just talk about everyday things,” he said. “Because of that, my language doesn’t have to go in that direction. It’s not even a prude thing for me. It’s just not part of the act.”
And it really isn’t needed in his act at all. With stories on topics ranging from his childhood to his experiences as an adult and father, Regan’s humor is founded in the audience’s ability to relate to everything he talks about. His physical gestures and facial expressions are exaggerated and often bring laughs without any words.
Regan has had a long and successful career that started all the way back in his college years. A graduate of Heidelberg College, a small university in Ohio, Regan had never thought about comedy or performing prior to his freshman year.
“I arrived here as an economics major, and that lasted all of, you know, about eight minutes,” he said in a commencement address at the college in 2008.
When asked about college in a recent interview, Regan chuckled and said that even though he wasn’t the best student, school was still a great way to become educated in what he referred to as “the social world learning and how to, you know, be around people and make people laugh.”
Not surprisingly, Regan was involved in his college newspaper as an artist for the comics section and as an advice columnist. His comic, titled “Adventures of Ned the Stickman,” was a hit on campus. Ned resembled a superhero, but according to Regan, “He was far from perfect.”
“If four people were in trouble, he could save three of them,” he said, which was great for the three people he could save but not for the other guy. The world was a better place because of him.”
When asked about his advice column, Regan had a confession to make.
“I wrote the questions and the answers,” he said with a laugh. “People didn’t realize that. It was just a way to make people laugh.”
As Regan wrote more for the paper, people began recognizing him around campus, which encouraged him to draw and write even more. He became known as the guy who wrote the advice column and drew the comic strip.
“I was like, ‘Wow, these people like to laugh, and it’s cool,’” he said.
Now that Regan has been doing comedy for over 30 years, it’s understandable that he finds it difficult to name his biggest success.
“One thing that my kids really liked is the voice over I did for a ‘Loony Toons’ show,” he said. “I played a self-help guru kind of guy. We just sat down and watched it the other night.”
Despite his passion for comedy and performance, when asked whether he was skilled in other artistic endeavors such as music, he responded, “Well … no, not really.”
He went on to justify his answer by saying music was just never his family’s thing.
“Our cousins upstate did the whole gather-round-the-piano-and-sing thing,” he said. “That was really weird to us.”
Regan did admit that he sings a little as part of his act, and has had audience members come up to him after the show to tell him he had a nice voice. But performing music is not in his plans at all. He’ll stick to comedy.
Regan has worked hard for everything he has earned, performing night after night in small comedy clubs before finally getting his break. He obviously still loves what he does, the “stand-up thing,” and has no plans for stopping anytime soon.
So before going to his show, check out some more of his classic works on YouTube. Searches for “Brian Regan ER” and “Brian Regan walked on the moon” will return other classic bits. His is definitely a show worth braving the cold.
Sanguinetti is a member of the class of 2015.