U students and comedy lovers alike are in for a treat when the king of sarcastic and self-deprecating humor, Brian Regan, makes a house call to Salt Lake City’s Vivint Smart Home Arena on March 18 and 19.
Regan’s unique brand of quirky humor has drawn packed houses through his nearly nonstop theater tour since 2005, visiting around 80 cities annually. He’s famous for forging a career out of sets that don’t rely on swearing or stories about sex and drugs, helping him stand out from the more common raunchy comedy of today.
“I’m trying to do what is funny to me,” Regan said. “I find it challenging to try and figure out what billions of people think is funny. But I can figure out what makes me laugh, and so I get on stage and do my stuff and hope the audience agrees.”
Regan said he has no problem with raunchy comedy, especially if it is organic to the comedian. He notes that audiences find it “titillating” and that other stand-ups gravitate to it because it will draw an audience reaction.
“I’m not as intrigued by that type of approach, and so for me it just isn’t truthful or organic and so it’s not my message on stage,” Regan said.
Regan said when it comes to his own jokes, he’s not sure how he comes up with them, but that he happens to be good at seeing the humor in daily events.
Using this ability is one of the ways Regan is able to keep his act so fresh, even after hundreds and hundreds of show dates. Regan said the origins for one of his funniest bits came from a trip to the video game store, GameStop, with his son.
There, despite his best efforts to simply purchase a game, the clerk wouldn’t let him leave without signing up for a rewards card. After a bit of back and forth, the manager eventually had to come over and approve the sale without a rewards card. Although at the time it was frustrating, he eventually found it hilarious and incorporated it into his set.
Another of his comedic strengths is his ability to transition from one bit to another seamlessly.
“Audiences don’t always need a lot to get from A to Z, as long as there is a logical connection,” Regan said. “Sometimes it doesn’t have to be logical. I never knew how to get into my sports chunk, and so I would just say, ‘Hey, it’s a great time for sports,’ and somehow the audience would just shrug and think it must be a great time for sports.”
Regan’s brand of humor sets him apart from other successful comedians. But he said he’s careful to not get lazy with his material.
“I think it’s very easy for someone to come up with an hour of material and go, ‘Okay, I’m set for my career.’ I think it’s important to keep replenishing,” Regan said. “I also like when people come up to me after shows and say, ‘What you did tonight was new to me’ — that’s a compliment.”
Regan said anyone aspiring to be a stand-up comedian should be wary of tailoring their material to specific audiences.
“Your job is to tell audiences what you think is funny and not what they already think is funny,” Regan said. “You have to tell them thoughts and ideas that you have and hope that they have never thought of that before and think it’s funny.”
Tickets for Brian Regan’s upcoming show can be purchased online at brianregan.com.