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Arts and Entertainment

LAist Interview: Comedian Brian Regan

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Comedian Brian Regan has been on "The Late Show With David Letterman" an astonishing 19 times - if you haven't seen him there, then how about Conan/Johnny Carson/Dr. Katz/etc.?? The man that has been everywhere is coming to The Wiltern, this Saturday, May 3rd at 8:00pm.

LAist had a chance to talk to the Las Vegas-based Regan about his recent Comedy Central Presents Special "Brian Regan: Standing Up" which is now on DVD, and his expletive-free experiential style of comedy. Two scant weeks after Regan's Wiltern appearance, he'll be taping another special for Comedy Central so what the LA audience will be experiencing is a dress rehearsal of the special's material.

Full audio of the interview with Brian Regan:

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LAist: I remember seeing you several years ago on when you were host of "Short Attention Span Theater" on the cable channel that was the predecessor of Comedy Central but Where I've seen you most recently and repeatedly is on Letterman.

Brian Regan: I'm very happy to have been considered a regular on that show. I love his kind of comedy and that he and his show has embraced me, it's a real feather in my cap.

LAist: You have a style of humor that really works with his show and from what you do in your act, you don't need to come up with a clean version of your act for broadcast. Your act has this broad appeal without engaging in the hardcore "blue" comedy that some comedians do out there.

Brian Regan: You can make the analogy to music, there's all kind of music, it can all be good, and yet still be different. Rock music is different than classical music. There are comedians out there that work blue, or dirty or raunchy or however you want to define it that I truly think are brilliant. I don't approach it that what I do is loftier than what someone else does, I just happen to enjoy trying to see how hard I can get people laughing without hitting certain words or subject matter, that's just the take I happen to have on it.

LAist: I imagine that for some comedians though, that if they have a chance to go on Letterman or Conan, they are going to have a hard time changing [cleaning up] their act so that they can go on that show and still convey who they are and what their act is about. For you, that's your mode as it is.

Brian Regan: I remember years ago, when I first started before I was ever even on TV, I remember watching a comedian who I had seen in a club in Fort Lauderdale where I got started, and he was lucky enough to get on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and he had to do, like a clean version of one of his jokes, just like you were talking about, and he had to do a cleaner perspective on it. He did the bit and it didn't get the laugh that he was used to getting, and I remember seeing this look in his eyes, during the TV taping, where he was thrown, like "Yikes, I usually get a big laugh there and then I carry that laugh over into the next bit and it just kind of lay there" - and I remember, even at that time, thinking that I don't want that to ever happen to me. I want to take my act, like a piece of pie, and take it outta here and put it right over there and do it exactly the way I do it without having to change things or twist things, so I realized very early on, that that's the way I wanted to do my act.

LAist: So there's a rumor that you have a potential TV show with Comedy Central in the works.

Brian Regan:[Laughs] Well, I have a development deal with them, you know, where you come up with ideas but there's no on-air commitment or anything like that. I've had development deals before with other networks but I really don't want to do anything conventional so I go in and pitch my show and there's this awkward moment like "Well..... thanks for coming in and, uhhh, we hope you have a nice day, and uhhh..." and that's the way that's been working out for me.

LAist: So you don't want just another 3 camera sitcom?

Brian Regan: That's correct. My attitude is that those have already been done and I don't want to do something that's already been done. My approach is that my comedy is unique enough that I'd want a TV show to be the same. I want to do something that's different. If it happens, great, but in the meantime I've been so fortunate that I've got a following doing standup and I'm really happy that it's gotten to the point that now I'm doing theaters so I'm already doing what I want to do.

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LAist: You've got an amazing tour schedule, just booked solid from May to November. That's got to be prety good being based out of Vegas in terms of it being a transportation hub.

Brian Regan: Yes, well, of course, but what's weird about Vegas, is that every flight is full, every flight, so there's going to be somebody sitting next to you, and all the people going to Vegas are happy and all the people leaving are sad. So I take the red eye flights a lot, and what you get on those flights are the people that wanted to leave at three in the afternoon but they were losing and they just kept throwing money at the table and then they're on that midnight flight and they have to go to work the next morning and those planes are quiet and eerie. Or you have the one guy that did win and he's all happy and everyone is staring at him- the one guy gets on with a party hat on and everyone else is wearing a black veil over their faces.

LAist: Do you have an opener for your Wiltern show?

Brian Regan: We have Gary Brightwell opening and doing about 20 minutes before I come on. I'm just tweaking my act for the taping of my next special on May 17th.

LAist: The 17th? That's right around the corner. So the Wiltern show is essentially a dress rehearsal for the taping?

Brian Regan: That's right! That's right!

Brian Regan photo credit Evans Ward