By Vanessa Wolf
Clean-cut, family friendly comedian Brian Regan will be performing at the MACC on Saturday, June 29 at 8:30 p.m.
Known for material that explores the humorous side of everyday events like shipping a package with UPS or a visit to an optometrist. Regan’s clean, off-center humor has been praised by critics and contemporaries alike and earned him the moniker of “the comic’s comic.”
We chatted with Regan to find out a little bit about how he got his start and what makes him tick.
Maui Now: You’ll be here at the end of the month. Have you been to Maui before?
Brian Regan: I’ve never performed on Maui. I’ve been there for vacation and enjoyed the beauty of the place, but this will be a first.
I started a series of one-night venues about seven years ago and I’ve been able to go to a lot of places on – I don’t know what the term is – “the continental 48…”
MN: We call it the mainland.
BR: “Ah! I’ve been able to do it on the mainland and had a blast with them, so I expressed an interest in performing in Hawaii and Alaska, as well.
MN: Let’s start out with a question from Margaret Cho: What do you think is wrong with you that made you want to be a comedian?
BR: <laughter> I think there is definitely a need for approval. Whether that’s a psychological quirk or not, we have a need for approval and we need it in a big, giant massive way. And you’re willing to risk big, giant, massive rejection to get to the big, giant, massive approval.
MN: In your work as a comedian, what’s something you absolutely have to have backstage?
BR: My rider is laughably small. I require a pack of gum, a Sharpie on the outside chance someone wants my autograph, and I need a bottle of Peach Schnapps. I have a tiny shot of chilled Peach Schnapps before my show.
MN: Really?? What’s up with the Peach Schnapps?
BR: Years ago I would have a beer before going onstage, but then I felt a little too bloated.
So I thought ‘I’ll do a shot of tequila.’
Then I would go onstage and have the kind of show that has nothing to do with how I think normally. I realized I didn’t want to sabotage my career by taking a shot of tequila before a show, but I wanted something with just a little alcohol content.
It’s mostly ceremonial: something to do, something to do that’s fun, but it doesn’t affect my show.
I realize it doesn’t sound overly macho to say Peach Schnapps, so I call it a Lightning Bolt.
MN: Ahhhhh. That’s clever…until someone sees the bottle of Peach Schnapps. That stated, speaking of giving other names to things, did you ever have a nickname?
BR: I had a nickname when I was in college and it was Rip, based on Rip Van Winkle.
The reasoning was I had trouble waking up for class. People never saw me in the cafeteria for breakfast or for lunch: only at dinner.
MN: That wore off then? You can get up with the birds now?
BR: No. I still love to sleep. That’s one reason I became a comedian. I’m not making this up. I was in college and I had trouble getting up, and I thought, “I don’t know how I’m going to make it in this world.”
Then a comedian performed at our college and his show was at 8 p.m. I remember sitting in the audience thinking, “I think I could actually wake up by now!” That was honestly what made me decide to be a comedian.
MN: Once that worked out, what is the most memorable thing your most eccentric fan has done?
BR: I was on stage at a comedy club. I was new and I was a little green at handling murky situations. A big guy got on stage – drunk – wearing a coon skin cap. He just kept getting closer and closer like a big bear.
He got right next to me and I thought, “Is my life over?”
Then, he put his arms around me and he kissed me on the cheek and slurred, ‘I looooove you man.”
Find out what there is to love on June 29 when Regan performs at the MACC’s Castle Theater. Tickets are $45.50 and $55.50.
Have an idea for a fun or thought-provoking story or topic? Get in touch: we want to hear from you. -Vanessa (@mauinow.com)