Whether he’s quipping about his ongoing battle with the bathroom scale, that unfortunate soul manning the airport’s lost luggage office, or the over-categorization at the greeting card store, comedian Brian Regan cracks you up.
The veteran funnyman sells out shows around the country, recently popped up in the Chris Rock feature film project “Top Five,” and has appeared on “The Late Show with David Letterman” a record 27 times.
The 57-year-old was born and raised in Florida, stumbled upon his future career while attending Heidelberg College in Ohio, and isn’t the only comedian in his family; his brother, Dennis, also does stand-up.
He’s been featured on Comedy Central series and specials, has released a handful of performance CDs and DVDs, and recently shared a ride with follow comedian Jerry Seinfeld on the latter’s web series, “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.” Yes, they made even that hilarious.
Regan’s playing Houston on Friday and Austin on Saturday before hitting Baton Rouge on Sunday for his River Center Theatre show.
Here’s what he had to say about “Red Stick” and more:
Q. Will this be your first time in Louisiana? Baton Rouge?
A. I’ve been in Louisiana a number of times over the years. And I’ve been in Baton Rouge, specifically, a couple times for shows. I’m looking forward to coming back!
Q. Do you tailor your show to the city you’re in, or can the audience expect the same kind of show you’d do in L.A. or N.Y.?
A. I kind of do my same show everywhere. I might throw in a local joke here and there. For example: Baton Rouge is the only city where I tell my hysterical joke about Baton Rouge meaning Red Stick.
Q. How did you get into comedy?
A. When I was in college, I took a speech class. Everybody laughed when I did my speeches, which felt pretty good. Everybody laughed when I talked out loud in biology class too, but those laughs didn’t feel nearly as good.
Q. Who were some of your favorite comics growing up?
A. When I was a kid, I loved Jonathon Winters. He had a segment on one of his TV shows called “Ad Lib” where he would be in an attic, pick up things at random, and make up goofy stuff. I thought it was amazing. Still do.
Q. When you recently appeared on Jerry Seinfeld’s web series, he called you “one of my favorite, favorite comedians.” How does that feel, how long have you guys been friends, and did you meet on stage?
A. It’s a huge honor to have him say that. I met him in New York City before his TV show. He was huge in the stand-up world at that time, but people outside comedy didn’t necessarily know him yet. He watched one of my sets and said nice things to me afterwards. It was a really cool experience to have someone like that pat you on the back.
Q. You are profoundly funny without being raunchy. Is there a line that you do not cross, or does that vary according to your audience?
A. I try not to throw words in there that will make kids’ balloons pop.
But, I think all kinds of comedy can be cool, as long as it’s organic to the comedian. Richard Pryor certainly worked blue, but he is one of the greatest comedians of all time.
Q. Also on Seinfeld’s web show, you said you really didn’t think you knew enough about anything except how to be a comedian. What other jobs did you have before comedy?
A. I worked as a salad chef in a four-star restaurant. I didn’t like anything I made — salads, croutons, salad dressing, vichyssoise soup! I decided to get a job liking things I made — jokes.
Q. With your older brother, Dennis, also a comedian, it must have been a riot growing up in the Regan house.
A. Dennis is very funny. I love his writing and I love his comedy.
Everybody in my family is funny, including my parents. My oldest brother, Mike, is one of the funniest people I have ever known. And he sells cars for a living.
Q. Do people offer and/or do you accept suggestions for material?
A. Sometimes people offer suggestions for material, but I’m not interested. Not that those ideas are bad, but I like to come up with the stuff I’m talking about by myself. That’s part of the thrill for me is connecting my brain to the audience’s brain. Any laugh I got that was created by someone else would be kind of boring to me.
Q. You’ve been a guest on “Letterman” 27 times. Is hosting a late-night gig something you’d be interested in?
A. I don’t think I have the skill set to host a late-night talk show. First of all, you have to like other people. So, that’s out. Just kidding about that. But, I know I’m not the kind of guy who can sit down with a starlet and banter about her latest movie role. I’d rather be in the wings, getting ready to do my stand-up.