Q&A with Brian Regan
BY MYKEL VERNON-SEMBACH —
The Lumberjack had the good fortune to interview comedian Brian Regan before his upcoming performance at Ardrey Auditorium Jan. 30 at 7:30 p.m.
Do you think performing for a college crowd is any different from, say, a standard comedy show?
It’s a little bit of an adjustment. Y’know, on the one hand, I try to just do what I do, but, I also realize, especially if it’s predominately a younger crowd, I might steer away from my jokes about having high cholesterol or signing mortgage documents. People in the audience don’t necessarily relate; “What’s cholesterol?” So my topic choices, I might tweak them a tad as my audience skews younger.
Do you like performing for college audiences?
I love performing for college kids. That’s when I first got interested in comedy was when I was in college and a comedian performed at our school. I love the experience of it. I have fond memories of watching comedians when I was young. So yes, those crowds are the best.
Who, in your opinion, are the best audience members to perform for?
Ideally, you want to perform for people who know a little bit about you and who might already have a propensity to like what you do. If you’re performing in front of a bunch people who have tickets that say “Brian Regan” on them, that’s easier than performing for a bunch of people who are assembled for another reason. So, I guess performing in front of fans is the answer to that. That’s always an easier way to get a crowd.
What was the moment that helped you decide you wanted to be a comedian?
Well, I don’t remember the exact moment, but it happened pretty quickly. I was in college and I was an economics major and I wasn’t having fun in that world. I switched majors to communication and theater arts and one of my first classes in that new major was speech and I used to try and make my speeches funny. I just remember that feeling of walking back to the dorm after making everybody laugh, thinking, ‘Wow. This is a different feeling than when I walked back after accounting class.’ So, it was a nice feeling.
What has been your favorite performance on this tour?
Well, the tour is basically constant. I started many years ago and it’s like Gilligan went out on a three-hour tour and somehow never ended up going home. So the tour just goes on and on. As far as favorite show, y’know, there are many shows that bring back fond memories. I think one of the biggest ones is being lucky enough to do The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson before he retired.
So, are there any bad experiences you’ve had performing?
Well, some were unusual. I performed one time at the club where I started in front of one person. Just one guy sitting in the audience when I got on stage and he wasn’t laughing, so that certainly was challenging.
Is it difficult, constantly touring?
No. I love every minute of it and I always have. And, yes, there is a lot of traveling, but I realize that I’m pretty fortunate to be able to do what I do. So I’m only on stage for an hour each night and I love every part of that. So, I don’t mind having to do what I got to do to get to these cities to do it.
Is there a special routine you go through to develop your acts?
No; I used to try to sit down in front of a computer or a legal pad and try to come up with stuff. But, I realized over the years that’s not the technique for me. So I just do what I would normally do. I just go through my day and I watch TV and I go to the doctor and I get on planes and I eat food. Every once in a while things just up and down and say, “Hey, I’m kind of funny. Can I be in your act?” I’ll jot it down and then once I have the original idea, then I can maybe tweak it and form a bit out of it. But the original inspiration comes from outside and not from the inside.
Are there any comedic bits that you’re tired of?
Well, for me, the longer I’ve been doing something, the less excited I get about it. So I tend to keep changing my act. Most of my act usually is stuff I’ve come up with over the last two years or so. So, older bits tend to fall by the wayside and new bits keep replacing the older bits. A lot of times, at the end of my show, I will go back out and sometimes people will shout out older bits that they’d like to hear. I might do about five or ten minutes of requests at the end and it’s fun in that context. But the main part of my show, I like it to be fresh.
What have been your favorite comedic bits in the past few months?
Topic-wise, I’m doing some stuff about the economy, which is working. The [comedic] bits are, at least, which makes me secretly hope that the economy does not recover in favor of my five minutes, which is a pretty selfish way to look at it. Please note that I’m completely joking. So, that’s fun for me, doing bits about [the economy] and I also have a couple of things about aging and how your body starts falling apart; there are a few different topics that I will be working my way into.
Tickets are available at NAU Central Ticket Office for $39.50. No student discounts apply.