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Laughter, not celebrity drives comedian Brian Regan

Courtesy photo
Brian Regan keeps his comedy clean, not because he has anything against blue material but because that's just not the way he thinks.

WANT TO GO?

Brian Regan

WHERE: Clay Center

WHEN: 7 p.m. Sunday

TICKETS: $39.50

INFO: 304-561-3570 or www.theclaycenter.orgCHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Brian Regan isn't especially enthusiastic about his prospects for breaking into television or movies.

The standup comic, who appears Sunday at the Clay Center, said, "There's nothing on the table concrete, other than standup, but I don't really need it."

Regan said he isn't in comedy for fame and fortune, though there's nothing wrong with wealth or adoration. He got into it because of the applause, the laughter and because it's a challenge.

The 54-year-old has been at it for a couple of decades now, and he's had some success. He's done specials on Comedy Central, released videos and turned up on late night television (24 times on David Letterman's show), but he's in it for the laughs, not the celebrity.

Regan got into comedy while in college.

"I started off studying accounting," he said. "I was going to be an accountant."

Always good at math, Regan said he'd been inspired to consider accounting as a career because of an accounting class in high school where he'd earned some rare A's.

"I thought this might be the only thing I'm qualified for."

But after a couple of weeks of accounting classes, Regan quickly realized he wasn't all that interested in a life spent adding and subtracting. So he switched from an accounting major to communications and arts. One of his first classes was a speech class.

"I used to make my speeches funny," Regan said. "That's where I first started getting the bug."

Eventually, he left school and went to work making people laugh for a living.

Regan's comedy is observational. Like a lot of comedians, he takes bits from daily life, embellishes and polishes them until they're funny little gems he tells on stage.

He said, "I'm not the guy who can sit down in front of a blank piece of paper and say, 'Come on, be creative. Comedy come out of my head.'"

It would be cool if it worked that way, but it doesn't. Instead, it's all normal stuff put through the funhouse filter of his perception.

"It's like looking into a circus mirror," Regan said. "This one makes you short and squat. This one makes you tall and thin. I'm just trying to help you see things from a different angle."

Regan's comedy tends toward the clean side. He doesn't lean on the "f-bomb" or use a lot of blue material. He said it's not so much because he's against that, but because it's not where his head is.

"I'm only as clean as what interests me comedically," he explained. "I think a lot of people mistakenly think that I'm this really wholesome guy -- not that I live some dark life or anything. It's a comedy choice."

Regan compared it to photography. "Some do color, some do black and white, but we're all taking pictures of the same thing. It's just a different medium. Comedy is the same way."

He added, "I'm fascinated by getting people laughing without hitting certain words or certain topics. I love the challenge."

And if that means he's a clean comedian, so be it. There's more to getting laughs than poop jokes. Other people can do that. The same goes for television shows and movies.

"Don't get me wrong: I'd love to have a television show, but it would have to be about my comedy, how I think as a comedian," Regan said. "I don't want to be that guy in a room they say, 'Here's your line, monkey boy. Say it and you'll be a billionaire.'

"Maybe that interests other people, but not me."

Well, probably not him...a billion dollars is a lot of money.

Reach Bill Lynch at lynch@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.


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