Brian Regan on fatherhood, college football, empty stages and private jet captains

Published: Sunday, Jan. 15 2012 3:00 p.m. MST

The things children say, clearly. There's something naÏve about kids. They just approach things from such an honest perspective, even in the words they choose and things like that. The honesty of children just intrigues me. I took the kids to Disneyland, and our daughter, it was going to be her first time on California Screamin', which is the big roller coaster that has the loop de loop. And the two women that got off the roller coaster, that got out of the seats that I was going to get in with my daughter, one of them was hyperventilating and literally got on her knees. She was horrified by what had just happened. And I'm like, "Oh, my gosh, my daughter, this is going to be her first time. This is not what she needs to see." And I was telling that story to people afterwards — saying, "There's my daughter, and she's watching this woman hyperventilating and I had to try to comfort her." And my daughter was listening to me tell the story and then afterwards she said, "Daddy, I never even saw that lady." … She kind of brought that back to reality. It's like, "Daddy, that might be a funny story that you're telling, but it has nothing to do with what actually happened." So it's interesting. They have a way of grounding you and making sure that you don't go off on a tangent that's too silly or untruthful.

You appeal to a lot of generations. Do you take any satisfaction in that?

I do. But it wasn't by design. For years, I worked in comedy clubs. I only started doing theaters about seven years ago. And when I was performing exclusively in comedy clubs, you have to be an adult to go. You have to be 18 or 21, depending on the state. My comedy, it wasn't intended for kids. I mean, it was clean, I guess. But it was more for adults reminiscing about their childhood. My first CD had a lot of stuff about me feeling stupid in school and playing Little League baseball and things like that, and then it was released as a CD, and it was interesting to me that I didn't even realize that kids would respond to this. It wasn't even a game plan or anything. It just happened to be where, "Wow, kids like this, too, and families can listen to this together." But it wasn't by design. It was sort of like a happy accident. And then when I started playing theaters, I didn't even think in terms of the fact that kids would be coming to shows. I still thought it was for adults — not that it was adult comedy — I was just intending to do my show where more people could come to the venue. And it was weird for me that people would come backstage and say, "You know there's kids out in the audience." And I'm like, "Kids?" I was surprised by that. But it was like, "Wow, OK. I guess that's cool." The only thing that's challenging for me is I don't want my show to become a kiddie show. I don't want it to be too simplistic. I do have some points of view that can be sharp, sharp-edged. I do like to talk about things that kids wouldn't necessarily relate to. I talk about having high cholesterol and signing mortgage documents. I don't want to paint myself in the corner to where every bit is something that everyone can relate to. I try to be careful that kids won't be offended by it, but I don't want it to be that every single bit is a Pop-Tarts bit. I want older folks to be able to go, "Oh, wow, good, something that I can relate to a little more than kid-oriented show."

Could you give people a sense of what home life is like for you? What's your daily routine, and how does your work factor into that?

It's important to me to almost forget that I'm a comedian when I'm home and offstage. I think that helps the comedy to be real and be coming from a real perspective. I just like to live as normal a life as possible and take my kids to a fast food place or go to the mall or do whatever we're doing. It's always a little weird when that bubble gets popped, when somebody might recognize me and come up and go, "Hey, wow, Brian Regan." And I'm not even in that frame of mind. I'm just thinking, "I'm just buying my daughter some socks. I'm not here as a comedian." I'm always polite to anybody that might recognize me. I try to have the normal, non-show business life, and I think that helps the comedy. I try to separate the two worlds as much as possible. That's why when I'm here at home, I don't perform here. I don't want to be a comedian when I'm at home. I don't want people who know me talking about tickets. Hey, their friend's coming into town. Can I get them comps? I want to talk about my kids learning how to ride their bikes. I want to live a normal life and I want my kids to have a normal life.

Are there any jokes that your kids really like?