Brian Regan has a secret dream. The standup-comedy veteran is sick of all the unnecessary attention paid to the fact his act is as family-friendly as they come.
“I joke around with other comedians,” he told the Straight by phone from his home in Las Vegas. “I say I would love to do a special on TV where I come out on-stage and I’m wearing a sweatshirt that has the f word on it and a hat that has the f word on it and the backdrop is just a big curtain that has the f word on it, but do my act completely clean and just say, ”˜Now what are they going to write about?’ ”
Maybe Regan gets the “clean” label because he’s got no other hook. You will not hear or see the equivalent of a “Git-r-done!” or a “SuFi” from him when he makes his second visit to town next Thursday (April 15) at the Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts. What you will get is totally original, laugh-yourself-silly comedy.
“I think a lot of comedians work towards a hook or angle and I try to work away from that,” he says. “As soon as I read, like, more than three articles that define me a certain way, I start writing away from that. I don’t want to be like a one-trick pony. For a while it was, like, Brian Regan’s the guy who always feels like an idiot on-stage or the guy who always crouches around on-stage. I like that and I was proud of that, but I don’t want to be just that.”
Regan is of a rare breed of comic who appeals to all, even those normally more attuned to an edgier brand of standup. So-called alternative comedians, like Patton Oswalt and Todd Glass, worship him. And with good reason. The guy is flat-out hilarious. The fact he’s able to sell out theatres throughout North America without the benefit of regular television exposure is a testament to his abilities. The numerous YouTube clips from his TV specials are watched by millions.
Does he care that his DVDs are essentially being given away? A little bit, but not enough to do anything about it. Not that he could, anyway.
“My manager and I were trying to brainstorm ways of seeing what we could control and what we can’t. Five years later we’ve come to the conclusion that we really can’t control anything.” He laughs. “There’s definitely a benefit to it, but that still doesn’t make it necessarily right that people view things for free. But I don’t complain about it because the overall benefit outweighs the negative. So many people are aware of me because of the Internet.”
And despite his numerous popular TV specials, chances are you won’t ever see him on his own weekly sitcom. There have been development deals through the years but nothing has ever come of them.
“I get less and less concerned about a TV thing because this is what I like to do,” he says. “I like doing standup. If I were to do a TV show, I would want it to be about the comedy. I’m not interested in any way in the fame, so to speak. That doesn’t intrigue me. I like people liking the comedy.”
And that they do. Because Brian Regan is one f word–ing funny comic.