Brian Regan on fatherhood, college football, empty stages and private jet captains
When they travel with me, which is quite often, I only want them to watch five minutes of my show each night. I don't want them to burn out on my comedy. When I get off stage and they quote something that's relatively new, it just means the world to me. My little boy was telling me that he liked my motorcycle routine and he was doing some of the bits and some of the lines. They have a way of being able to mimic me. I'm like, "Wow, I craft these little bits together that a 12-year-old or an 8-year-old can remember the actual words and the cadence and the delivery and they parrot it back to me." And I'm like, "They just heard that once, and it's already in their bones." It means a lot to me to have my kids like what I do. And that's why I limit them. But I don't want to put that pressure on them to be a fan of mine. I want them to think I'm Daddy. I don't want them to think of me as Daddy the comedian, even though I'm not naÏve. They know I'm a comedian. They know that people know I'm a comedian, and that sort of thing. But I don't really sit down and force them to listen to my DVDs or CDs or anything like that. When I'm on the road with them, what's more important to me than the show is going back to the hotel afterwards and reading them a story and tucking them in bed. I think the comedy is better if it comes from a real perspective. Once you start getting too high and mighty the more successful you get, I think, the more it can ruin the comedy. You don't want to be doing comedy about limos and private jet captains. People in the audience go, "What the heck's going on here?"
Are there any of your jokes that you never get tired of telling?
I can get tired of all of it. That's why I like to keep replenishing. I take a lot of pride in trying to turn the material over. The main part of my show, I come out and I do 65 minutes, and then I do a 10-minute encore. The 65 minutes is hopefully from the last couple of years. And then I come out and do an encore, and that's when people shout (requests) out. I don't mind doing older stuff then because I feel like there's a clean, clear delineation between the two. If my entire show was a greatest hits, I think that would kind of drive me crazy because then I would feel like I'm not tapping into a new way of thinking and a new kind of comedy. But I don't mind revisiting some of the older stuff as long as it's a small proportion of the overall package. But there are times when, say, on a Thursday night, someone will shout out, "Do the school routine." OK, so, I've done that so many times and I'll do it on that night. And then the next night when I go out for the encore, somebody will yell, "Do the school routine." And I'll go, "Pop-Tarts! Great!" I selectively don't hear things I just did the night before. If you do it too often, then it doesn't come out truthfully. It comes out more as a memorized routine and then it's no longer funny when you're just reciting. You need to live it, man. You need to live it out. The less often you do something, the more you're in touch with the funny part of it.
Any thoughts on coming back here for these 10 shows?
I'm incredibly honored to feel like people want to come out and see what I do as a comedian. It means a lot to me. I try to be careful not to oversaturate the market. Like the last time I went through, I told the people that booked me, 'I don't want to go back right away. Let's wait a couple of years. Give me a chance to replenish some of this material. So I'd like to think if somebody saw me last time, that they're going to see hopefully mostly new stuff, at least compared to last time. In fact, that's one of my favorite compliments after a show, when people say, "Hey, man, we saw you last time you were through and this time most of the stuff we've never heard before." I like to feel like I'm throwing some virgin snow out there. Hopefully people appreciate that.
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