I got the opportunity to speak with comedian Brian Regan about his work and his upcoming show in Birmingham at the BJCC and it was all laughs! Regan, originally from Florida, became a standup comedian with the goal of being on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, which he mentioned was every comedian’s goal when he got started. Brian Regan has been a guest on Late Show with David Letterman a total of 28 times and recently hosted a live hour long comedy special from Radio City on Comedy Central.
Regan did a phone interview with me. I waited anxiously for the call, growing more and more nervous as the time approached. Turns out I had no need to be nervous because he was fantastic to speak with. He was just waking up when we spoke and I was two cups of coffee into my day so I promised I wouldn’t be too peppy. I got a laugh which was a huge honor. I shared with him that I couldn’t wait to see his show here because I hadn’t seen him live before. We talked about what’s coming next and he said mostly “working on new material” since he had just completed a live special. I asked for a little teaser of his new material but he explained that it doesn’t work well over the phone. Looks like I’ll be surprised at the show! Here’s some other things we discussed:
PopWrapped: Are you excited to be coming to Birmingham?
Brian Regan: Yes, yes I like Birmingham. I’ve been there many times over the years and I’m excited to come back.
PW: When you’re on tour, do you get a chance to do anything in the city or is it more like do the show and move on?
BR: Well...things changed about 10 years ago when I switched from Comedy Clubs over to theaters. With Comedy Clubs, I’d be in a city for 3 or 4 days in a row where with theaters it's one night. Sometimes with travel it’s not even a whole day. Sometimes we pull in a few hours before the show, do the show and then blow out of there right afterwards. So now I don’t get to experience the cities like I used to.
PW: I watched a trailer for the movie you did last year with Chris Rock Top Five, was that fun to film? Did you guys laugh a lot?
BR: Yeah, I’ve never done a movie like that and it was. you know, my scene was not a long scene so we were able to shoot my scene in a couple of hours. And it was great fun. We did what the script was. He [Chris Rock] had written the script and then after we shot that, we played around a little bit. Chris Rock was the director as well and it felt like he wanted to have some fun and capture some ad lib moments. So, that was cool as well. It was a really great experience.
PW: I just saw your special at Radio City Hall on Comedy Central and the pics you posted on Twitter, was that fun?
BR: Ugh, sure! It was intense because it was live. It was a full on 100% concentration deal. Usually when you shoot a special, you often times shoot two shows so you can edit between the two, so if you flub a word here or there you can make up for it in the other show. In this one, I didn’t have that luxury so it was 100 % concentration for an hour straight. And, it was fun but it was good to be done with it as well.
PW: So you have been on Late Show with David Letterman 28 times, do you have any favorite memories?
BR: Well, they were all a lot of fun. Certainly the first one and the last one stand out. The first one is really intense because you are finally fortunate enough to be able to get on the show and you want it to go well. The fact that it went well was really cool and the fact that they contacted me and asked me to do a second one. Being asked to do a second was almost more important than being able to the first one because that means the first one went really well. And then I just got lucky enough to get my foot in the door and they seemed to like me and I was able to do a number of them over the years. The last one was a great experience too. I was on with Ray Romano and the Dave Matthews Band and it was pretty cool. You’re standing backstage and you look at those two and think ‘I’m squeezed between two big shots here’ which makes me feel like by default you’re a big shot too. [I told him he is a big shot which he modestly accepted]. It was great to get the chance to do it.
PW: Many consider you to be a clean comedian, do you think that’s true and is it hard when a lot of them are vulgar and raunchy?
BR: Well, I don’t even really think about the clean thing as much as other people do. I just do comedy the way I like to do it. I guess at the end of the day it happens to be clean. It’s not my mission statement, if you will to do clean comedy. I just tend to talk about things that happen to be clean. What’s weird to me is because everyone else isn’t clean; I get defined as being clean. I wonder if I was doing this kind of comedy 40 years ago where everyone was doing clean comedy it wouldn’t be focused on quite as much. To me, it's just a different style of comedy. Music has rock n’ roll, reggae it has jazz, it has country. Comedy has different styles and I guess clean is just a way of doing comedy. I just like talking about what I like talking about.
PW: How much fun did you have with Jerry Seinfeld on Riding in Cars with Comedians?
BR: It was a lot of fun. I did one of the first ones that he did. He did a batch of 8 to 10 so when I did mine, there were none on the air to look at, to see where he was going. The title is the premise of the series so you don’t really know what this is going to be like. He literally picked me up and we drove around for 4 hours and they edited it down to 12 minutes or so. It was very fun.
PW: Seinfeld picks the cars based on the comedian right?
BR: Yeah, we talked before we shot it and he told me the premise of the show and he said he likes to pick a car that’s conducive to the comedian. And he said, ‘What kind of cars do you like?’ I said, ‘I don’t really know anything about cars.’ He said, ‘when you were a kid in high school, what kind of cars did you fantasize about?’ I said, ‘I never did that. I never had such fantasies that’s not how I’m wired.’ He said, ‘When you’re driving around, what kind of cars do you see that you think that would be cool for me.’ I said, ‘I’ve never had such thoughts.’ He said, ‘I’m taking this out of your hands. I’m gonna decide what car we get for you.’ That was it, he pulled up in a Dodge Challenger or something and he felt it was an all American Car and I was an all American Comedian.
I want to thank Mr. Regan so much for his time. He was a pleasure and full of laughs! Make sure to get tickets to his show on November 22nd at the BJCC!