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Q&A with Brian Regan

by Lenise Willis

Comedian Brian Regan, known for his observational humor and clean jokes about life’s stupidities, answers a few questions before his appearance Friday at the Greensboro Coliseum’s War Memorial Auditorium, as part of his national theater tour.

Y!W: When did you first realize you wanted to be a comedian? Was it a childhood dream of yours?

Regan: It was not a childhood dream. I liked comedy when I was a kid, but I went to (Heidelberg College in Ohio) thinking I was going to live an exciting life as an accountant. It was after about a month’s work of accounting classes that I said, “I don’t think I can hang with this any longer,” so I switched majors to communications and theater arts. One of my first classes was a speech class and it was in that world that I started going, “Hey, I think I like making these speeches funny and I like when my class laughs,’ so that’s what got me interested in comedy.

Y!W: I’ve read that you actually dropped out to pursue a career in comedy. Is that true?

Regan: Yeah, I mean it’s a true story but you feel awkward because when kids hear about that I don’t want them going, “Hey, well I guess that’s what we should do.” But that’s what happened to me. I was a second semester senior and there were some goof ups with my classes and some of the ones I needed were only offered a certain semester, and it was just a complicated mess. I knew I wanted to be a comedian and I didn’t need a degree to at least try it, so I dropped out thinking, “Let me try this comedy thing and if it doesn’t work out, I’ll go back and get my degree,” so that’s what happened.

Y!W: And have you since gone back and completed your degree?

Regan: Yeah, I did it like 15 or 16 years later, I ended up getting my degree. I was only 10 credit hours shy so it was always something kind of hanging over me. One of my professors said I could go back and finish up my hours and that I could do that without having to go to campus, I could do it while I was traveling, and so it was cool. I made straight As in my final 10 credits and I don’t think I had ever seen an A while I was on campus! I was a grown man when I received my report card and I didn’t have anyone to call to go, “Hey look, I got straight As!”

Y!W: So, did you put it on your own refrigerator at home?

Regan: Oh yeah! Anytime I had any guests over I would bring them by the refrigerator and go, “You sure I can’t get you something from the refrigerator? You sure?” You know, just hoping they would spot it.

Y!W: Is there any reason why your shows are more clean-humored or is it simply a reflection of your personality?

Regan: It’s reflective of how I think as a comedian. I like doing the kind of comedy that I do just because it interests me. But, I think some people might get the wrong idea and think I’m much more wholesome than I appear to be onstage. I just like doing clean comedy, but when I’m offstage with my friends, you know, in a circle of people that I know can handle it; I might get a little darker. When I stub my toe on the coffee table at 2 a.m. I say words that don’t make it into my shows.

Y!W: Do you remember your first gig as a comedian? How did it go?

Regan: Well there were a number of firsts. There’s the first time you call it a “comedy show.” There’s the first time in a comedy club. The first time I tried it, where I said, “Hey, I’m going to try to do standup comedy,” I did it on campus at college in front of my friends and classmates and it was a disaster. Because even though there is a lot of truth in comedy, you fictionalize some of it. I remember being onstage in front of all of these people that I know and being like, “So I was on a bus this morning….”

and they were like, “Uh, no you weren’t. We were with you all day….” So, I remember learning, wow, this should sort of be done in front of strangers.

Regan’s live concert recording, All By Myself, was released in December 2010 as a digital audio download only available through his website. The album was released as a CD Nov. 25 and is also only available through his website, brianregan.com.

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