Comic Brian Regan is a master at always presenting original material and not coasting on reframed old jokes and bits like many of his lazy peers in comedy.
He is always funny, and part of a group of clever comedians like Jim Gaffigan who don’t need to rely on variations of the word f***k to get their laughs. You can sit the entire family down to watch him and everyone howls.
Brian’s influences were smallscreen comedic masters like The Smothers Brothers, Johnny Carson and Steve Martin. After college he took to open mic nights in Ft. Lauderdale clubs outside his hometown of Miami.
Touring the country constantly through the late 80’s and 90’s Brian won the 1996 American Comedy Award for Best Comedian, starred in two Showtime specials and performed on all the leading late night shows, including his life-long dream, “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.”
Along with avoiding profanity, Regan skirts topical politics and stays true to his strong suit: Observational musings layered with his own self-deprecating admissions that he shares, such as reading complex prose that makes his brain freeze, and over-his-head pretentious party conversations accidentally stumbled into. We’ve all been there.
He frames it in neat little packages and punctuates his stage work with physical moves that hearken Art Carney’s elastic performances in “The Honeymooners” as Gleason’s Ralph Kramden sidekick, Ed Norton, with his goofy good-natured mugging and facial and body contortions that are never too much and always spot on.
The “Brian Regan: The Epitome of Hyperbole” DVD is a new original stand-up special that was taped at The Paramount Theatre in Denver.
Bonus materials include “The Encore,” the unaired encore performance from the special and “The Backstage Story,” a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the special.
The world premiere of “Brian Regan: The Epitome of Hyperbole” debuts on Comedy Central on Saturday, September 6 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Brian Regan spoke with Monsters and Critics the other day.
You remind me of Art Carney at times in your act, especially in the Russell Crowe-kidnapper segment. You are from Miami, where the great Jackie Gleason made his home and production base from 1964 onwards. Did his show affect you as a kid, maybe watching “The Honeymooners” in reruns?
Brian Regan: First, thanks for the Art Carney comparison. Never heard that one before, but it’s really cool. I remember watching the Honeymooners as a kid, and loved it. Still do.
I don’t think I noticed as a kid, but as an adult, I marvel at how simple that show was. It proves a successful show is not so much about the idea, but in the execution.
Did someone go into a network office way back when and say, “I want to do a show about a tiny apartment with a tiny refrigerator”?
You are part of a small cadre of comedians who really kill the audience without bad language or blue material. What made you decide you just weren’t going down that road?
Brian Regan: Hang on, I gotta look up “cadre.” (Pause.) Okay, I’m back. It’s hard to answer this without coming off as patting myself on the back. I’ll just say this – I am AMAAAAAZING! Okay, that was just a joke.
Actually, I like lots of comedians who use language and blue material. I just don’t go that route myself. I have more fun talking about normal, everyday stuff. I guess it’s sort of like being a knuckle ball pitcher when everyone else throws power pitches.
Considering how (in your act) you kid about “out of your depth” situations, does it amuse you how Dennis Miller, the king of abstruse and arcane references, loves your act?
Brian Regan: Hang on, I gotta look up “abstruse.” (Pause.) Okay, I’m back. Well, I’m thrilled when anybody likes my act. Dennis Miller has been incredibly kind to me, and I’m very appreciative of that.
In fact the first time I heard he liked my comedy is when a friend told me that Dennis Miller, in a Playboy Magazine interview, said I was one of his favorite acts.
It was weird explaining at the checkout counter that I was buying the Playboy because I wanted to find out if someone in the magazine mentioned me.
Which comic(s) would you pay money to see in a comedy club or comedy tour?
Brian Regan: Any old timer. And I don’t say that flippantly.
My wife and I, along with some friends, paid to see Marty Allen (“Hello Dere”) perform in Las Vegas. We sat in a small showroom in the front row.
He gingerly walked out in his tuxedo and disheveled hair, and he lit up when he did his stand-up.
This sounds corny, but the look in his eyes while he did his act brought tears to my eyes, as I realized someone his age could still get so much joy out of the same exact thing I love to do so much.
I knew right then I could be happy like that for the rest of my life.
The reading rant in your latest “Epitome of Hyperbole” is very funny. Do you read your news on the internet, or is that too much of a slog too?
Brian Regan: I try to read, but I read very slowly. It takes me a month or more to read a book, and that’s not a joke. I read a lot of articles in newspapers and magazines, and I feel I’m reasonably informed, but I try not to get too much info from the internet.
That internet is the Wild Wild West… there’s no telling what’s true and what’s not. I’m amazed at how much stuff floats around that is pure garbage.
What worries me is that smart people can get smarter with the internet, ‘cause they can tell reliable sites from those that are not. But for the dumb people… I think the internet is just making them dumber and dumber.
Would you like to do a series around your persona for the small screen? Is acting something you enjoy?
Brian Regan: I don’t know if I’ll ever end up with a show on TV. Other people have to say yes.
That’s a bizarre world for me. As a stand-up, I have complete autonomy. I think, and do. I have to ask no one.
But in TV, you think, and ask. You have to ask others what they think about what you thought. And then they think about it for about a month, then they tell you they like it a lot, but that they’re going to pass.
I sometimes wonder how many of my jokes would ever get told if I had to first run them by other people for their approval.
You goof on art talk in “Epitome of Hyperbole,” yet I love that you have your fans submit art to you for your website www.brianregan.com in a contest, and that you scan it and display it. Tell me about that, and some of your favorite submissions.
Brian Regan: The art contest is actually our second contest. The first was a Brian Regan impression contest in which people submitted video of themselves doing impressions of me doing my jokes.
It was quite fun. This art contest is fun too. It amazes me how many people will go through the effort to make a submission.
I’d hate to pick one favorite from those, so I’ll just say I like them all 100% equally. Now, no one will have to cry.
A one-disc release, features an anamorphic widescreen menu with a play button, and options to watch the special features and adjust languages. Audio options include English Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0, while there are no subtitles, though closed captioning is available.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track
An encore segment available on this DVD, as his jokes-by-request bits bring back his very best.
Also a 14-minute rare extra that looks at the making of a stand-up special, a nice bonus.