I had the intense pleasure of seeing comedian Brian Regan perform live last night at the Forum in Harrisburg, PA. It was a well-timed birthday present from my wife.
I’ve been a big fan of his self-deprecating style of humor for a long time now. He came out in a blue Hawaiian shirt and did a bit about his luggage getting lost at the airport that immediately put the crowd into hysterics. The funniest part of his act that I can recall had to do with his overriding theme of trying to “learn stuff” about the world. He described watching a Nova special on string theory, which was funny because I saw the same thing recently as well. He was telling us how the theory is so deep that even Albert Einstein couldn’t figure it out.
“Well,” he said, “I’m thinkin’ if he couldn’t figure it out—me, the couch, and a bag of potato chips won’t stand a chance.”
Uncontrollable laughter went on non-stop for about an hour and a half as he hit us with all new material. He even bombed ever so slightly with a series of “new” jokes about cuckoo clocks—as he put it “this might be a one time thing, folks.” That may have been the most endearing moment of the night. Clearly there was a lot of love for the comic. Everyone was rolling on the floor to 99.9% of the act.
Then he did something that was unprecedented in my experience of watching live stand up. He came out and did an encore. People shouted out their favorite bits. Although he tried to talk us out of it (“I’ll be happy to do it, but you’ll be like, ‘Yep, that’s how I have it memorized'”), he ultimately succumbed and did his most famous routines by request, including You too, Donut Lady, and others.
I’ve always thought this guy should be more famous, but it’s also good to see that the carcinogen effect of fame hasn’t spoiled him. If he never gets caught up in that game, it will only serve to guarantee his place as one of the funniest observation comics of our time.
(Note: He’ll be on Late Night this Monday night. So, set your Tivos.)