Brian Regan Shares the Real Reason He Became a Comedian (Maui Now)

Brian Regan Color 1 - Photo Credit Brian FriedmanClean-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.

BR: Years ago I would have a beer before going onstage, but then I felt a little too bloated.MN: Really?? What’s up with the Peach Schnapps?

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.”