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Santa Maria Sun / Art

The following article was posted on July 3rd, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 19, Issue 18 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 19, Issue 18

Make 'em laugh: Comedian Brian Regan comes to the Santa Ynez Valley

By Rebecca Rose

Brian Regan is not on "tour."

At least, that's not how he likes to think of his long schedule of upcoming shows. Regan sees it not as a set time frame with a stop and start point, but rather a continuous set of shows for his fans.

"I always think that's an incorrect word," he said. "A tour suggests a beginning and end. I'm just out there forever. This is what I do."

Fans of the comedian can catch Regan at one of his not-a-tour dates on July 13, when he will bring his popular brand of stand-up to the Chumash Casino in Santa Ynez. 


THE YUKS WILL LEAVE YOU MOONSTRUCK
Funnyman Brian Regan comes to the Chumash Casino Resort on July 13. The comedian currently stars on Loudermilk on The Audience Network.
PHOTO COURTESY OF BRIAN REGAN

Regan has had a long and successful career as a comedian, starting in the 1990s and leading up to a recent deal with Netflix. His first album was released in 1997, entitled Brian Regan Live. In 2004, he put out I Walked on the Moon, a DVD of his live show. More standup specials followed, including All By Myself in 2010 and Live From Radio City Music Hall in 2015. He has more than two dozen television appearances to his credit, including stints on Comedy Central's Shorties Watchin' Shorties and Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist. He has appeared numerous times on talk shows including The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and The Late Show with David Letterman. He currently stars on the show Loudermilk on The Audience Network.

Regan is relaxed and thoughtful in an interview, a slight departure from the animated and energized stage version of himself fans are used to. He's slow and considerate with his words, seemingly much more interested in having reflective conversations about comedy and his work than making someone laugh (which he still manages to do, nonstop).

Born and raised in Florida, Regan attended Heidelberg College in Ohio, with plans to pursue a career in accounting. It's hard to picture the comedian counting numbers in a spreadsheet, and Regan soon realized it wasn't for him. But it was at college where he found his love for comedy, albeit not quite as a stand-up comic at first. At Heidelberg, Regan was drawn to hosting events and working as the emcee, where he quickly found a knack for making the audience laugh. 

"I started emceeing college activities," he said. "I just enjoyed getting on the microphone and introducing the basketball players or the cheerleaders in the gym. I would make that stuff funny."

But there's a difference between making jokes on stage and making the transition to actual stand-up comedy. Once it has the title, it takes on a different meaning, Regan explained.

"The expectation is heightened," he said. "The first time I remember saying I was going to do 'stand-up comedy,' I did it in this little campus bar. ... My friends and teachers came out to watch Brian Regan do stand-up. It was very different from me being on a microphone and being funny while interviewing cheerleaders and basketball players."

Regan avoids obscene language in his act (he doesn't work "blue," as comedians say), but he isn't an advocate for censorship among his colleagues. His jokes tend to be about his everyday life, where he is usually the punchline. As for his influences or others he finds humorous, Regan pointed to the work of George Carlin, Steve Martin, and Richard Pryor. He said all three of the comedy legends offered something unique to the industry and evolved as their careers progressed.

"There are a lot of things that happen under the umbrella of comedy," he said. "The more unique someone's comedy is, the more interesting it is to me."

In the 1980s and 1990s, comedians hoped to hit it big with comedy specials on networks such as HBO or Comedy Central. Now, it's Netflix which can be a boon to a career. 

Regan recently inked a deal with the streaming service for two specials. In November, Brian Regan: Nunchucks And Flamethrowers debuted and he is set to follow it up with another special he is currently working on in 2019. 

"It's good in that a variety of comedic voices get to be seen and heard in longform," he said. "For someone to get to watch somebody for an hour, even if they're not famous yet, I think that's a beautiful art form. I'm glad the public gets to see people they may not have happened upon without Netflix."

Regan made 28 appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman, the most of any comedian since Letterman moved his show to the CBS network in 1993. Regan said despite that, he didn't get much of a chance to get to know the famed talk show host outside of his interviews.

Funny dude
Brian Regan will perform live at Chumash Casino Resort’s Samala Showroom on July 13. The Chumash Casino Resort is located at 3400 E. Highway 246, Santa Ynez. Tickets are $35 to $55. More info: chumashcasino.com or 1-800-CHUMASH. For more information on Regan, visit brianregan.com.

"The thing about Letterman is he's not the kind of person you hang out with before or after the show," he said. "The only times I really chatted with him was during the show. But I heard from his writing staff that he liked what I did. ... It was great for me, career wise and human wise to feel like I'm getting a pat on the back from someone who knows comedy. It felt like being knighted."

Other comedians including Dennis Miller, Jerry Seinfeld, and Chris Rock hail Regan as one of their favorites. But despite the acclaim, Regan remains refreshingly humble about his long and laughter-filled career.

"All I wanted was to be able to do [stand-up] and make enough money to get a sandwich every now and then," he said, laughing. "As long as I can get a turkey sandwich, I'll feel like I'm successful."

 

Arts and Lifestyle Writer Rebecca Rose laughs at herself. Contact her at rrose@santamariasun.com.




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