Now That’s Funny

There are commonalities in life that people across all demographics experience. When two people find they have had a common experience, they can relate to one another. No matter whether the experience was happy, sad, annoying, scary or embarrassing, it’s comforting to know that other people understand the everyday occurrences that make up our lives.

Observational comedy takes that level of understanding and turns ordinary experiences into humor. Things that may have ruined your day, like running out of gas or losing your keys, suddenly become lighter when you can find a way to laugh at the situation.

Comedian Brian Regan has been providing that comic relief for audiences for 40 years. He is one of the best of his craft, sharing his observations in everyday life in a hilarious way, with witty lines and physical contortions. He can draw a laugh with just one eyebrow raise.

“There’s just really something thrilling about making a room full of people laugh, and part of it is that when people are laughing, they feel good, and to make people feel good makes me feel good,” Regan said in an interview with Vanity Fair. “It’s joyful. You feel like you’re contributing to some goodness in this world.”

Regan quit college in 1980 to pursue a career in comedy. He worked the comedy clubs in Florida, where he grew up, taking sets whenever he could to gain the experience. After a couple of years, he began touring around the country and in 1991 he made his television debut on “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.”

In 1995 he landed his first appearance on “The Late Show with David Letterman.”

He was invited back on that show 27 more times, which was a record number of appearances for a stand-up comedian. He has also appeared on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” and “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” among others.

Regan released his first comedy album, “Brian Regan Live,” in 1997. He followed that up with “I Walked on the Moon” in 2004. This recorded performance at the Irvine Improv included some of Regan’s best material. He drew boisterous laughter with his bits about rating your pain during a visit to the doctor, the anxious thoughts during an eye exam, people at the airport who can’t follow directions on the moving sidewalks and the “me monster” at dinner parties who won’t stop talking about himself. Again, he leans on relatable situations and elevates the circumstances with his amusing anecdotes and hysterical facial expressions.

Regan signed a deal with Comedy Central to star in two one-hour stand-up specials, including 2007’s “Standing Up” and “The Epitome of Hyperbole” in 2008. He followed that with his fifth recording, “All By Myself” in 2010.

Not only has Regan gained followers with his brand of comedy, but he also has garnered the respect of his peers in the comedy scene. Jerry Seinfeld is one such fellow comedian who is a big fan.

“He’s really the most beloved guy out there by other comedians because of the quality of his stuff,” Seinfeld said of Regan in an interview with CBS News.

Seinfeld invited Regan on the inaugural season of his series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” in 2012, and asked him on for a second episode in 2018.

Chris Rock is another comedian who trusted in Regan, asking him to appear in his 2014 film, “Top Five.”

The following year, Regan made history when he filmed Comedy Central’s first live broadcast of a stand-up special with his hour-long set “Brian Regan: Live From Radio City Music Hall.”

He transitioned to acting in 2017 when he was cast as “Mugsy” in Peter Farrelly’s dark comedy series “Loudermilk.” Mugsy is a recovering addict who is estranged from his eight kids. Regan’s character comes to the forefront in season 3, which premiered on Amazon Prime Video in April.

“The performance he (Regan) gives this season is the best performance on television this year,” Farrelly stated.

Also in 2017, Regan signed a Netflix deal for two stand-up specials, with Seinfeld as executive producer.

He released “Brian Regan: Nunchucks And Flamethrowers” in Nov. 2017, which premiered to rave reviews by critics and fans.

His second special, “Stand Up And Away! With Brian Regan,” was a four-episode original half-hour series that combines sketch comedy and stand-up.

Regan’s latest project was a new Netflix special, “On the Rocks,” which was released in February. The show was shot in October 2020 at Tuachan Center for the Arts, a large outdoor amphitheater in Utah.

He brought his classic observational style and commanded the stage with his antics. Subjects in the special include his recent realization that he has O.C.D., a debate whether animals or humans are more intelligent and a surprisingly hilarious bit about grapes (and how raisins are not the same thing).

Regan continues to tour the country, visiting almost 100 cities each year. His set has grown with him, as he draws material from his own life — raising kids, aging and the mundane, like household purchases and appointments. His jokes hit because they do reflect real life, just with an exaggerated take that explores the humor in any situation.

His ability to keep a clean set without the use of profanity or explicit subject matter just further proves his skill and the quality of his material. His show Saturday, Aug. 28 (8 p.m.) at the Tropicana Laughlin’s Pavilion Theater is suitable for all ages; under 21 accompanied by an adult.