Brian Regan is a comedic anomaly, an undeniable force of funny whose widespread appeal has done nothing to diminish his sharpness. He's a comic's comic who can entertain grandparents and children alike. Specializing in self-deprecating jokes that speak directly to the hapless buffoon hidden inside us all, Regan sells his keenly crafted observational humor with full-bodied physicality.
Currently appearing on the recovery-focused sitcom Loudermilk and Netflix's standup/sketch mashup Standup and Away! With Brian Regan , the astoundingly prolific comedian is back on the road with a fresh hour-plus of new material to follow his latest special, Nunchucks and Flamethrowers — which was filmed at Denver's Paramount Theatre.
Westword caught up with Regan over email to discuss the future of his various TV projects, how having a large family influenced his sense of humor, and his return to Colorado this week.
Westword: You are an astoundingly prolific joke writer. How long did it take you to come up with a new hour after your latest special, Nunchucks and Flamethrowers?
Brian Regan: It takes me about two years to nail down a new hour. I have a new special I'm shooting soon, so I had to completely turn the material over from Nunchucks and Flamethrowers.
Can readers expect a second season of Standup and Away?
I hope so. We're trying to get Standup and Away, or maybe some kind of new sketch show, onto another platform. Hollywood works slower than it takes the Earth to make new mountain ranges, so it could take hundreds of millions of years.
Where did the idea for a show that blended standup with sketch come from?
I tend to think of comedy things that last a minute or two, so this includes sketches. In the meantime, I have older material that lots of people still like to hear. So I thought, how could I combine older material with new comedy ideas? That's how I hit on Standup and Away.
Some of your classic bits have inspired a slew of fan-made short films. Was Standup and Away in any way inspired by seeing how your jokes translated into a more visual medium?
I'm honored that fans like to make their own videos for my jokes, but that is not what inspired me to do Standup and Away. My show didn't make sketch versions of existing jokes anyway; it was about making new sketches that could be coupled with older stuff.
You grew up with seven siblings, one of whom also works as a standup. How did coming from a big, funny family prepare you for a career in comedy?
It was cool growing up in a big, funny family. Not sure how that prepared me for being a standup, but it certainly helped get my comedy brain firing.
Speaking of your siblings, have you ever worked together professionally with your brother Dennis? Also, is it strange to have an opener with whom you used to squabble over a shared bathroom?
Dennis and I work together every now and then. But he is a headliner himself, so he has his own thing going. When we do work together, it's a special, fun thing for us, and hopefully for the audience as well.
What's the future of Loudermilk? Are you privy to such developments?
We shot a third season of Loudermilk. I don't know what's going on with the business side of things, but I understand they're trying to get it on a platform where people can see all three seasons of the show!
How would you characterize the hour you're currently touring with?
I don't know how to describe my comedy. I always feel like I'm being too self-serving when I try to describe it. But I'll try: My comedy is sorta kinda funny a little bit.
Do you have any plans or deals in place for your next one-hour special?
My next standup special will be on Netflix. Right now it's slated to come out around Christmas of 2020.
You filmed Nunchucks and Flamethrowers at Denver's own Paramount Theatre and consistently make triumphant returns to the Centennial State on a semi-annual basis. What qualities do you think make Colorado such an unlikely hub for comedy?
I always like performing in Denver. I always enjoyed performing at the Comedy Works in Denver (one of the best clubs in the country), and they have always been supportive when I perform in Denver theaters, so that's been really cool.
Is there anything else you'd like to mention before we wrap up the interview?
Nope, all is good. Hopefully folks will come out and sorta-kinda laugh at my comedy a little bit.
Brian Regan returns to the Paramount on February 7 and February 8, part of a statewide trip that includes dates at Colorado Springs' Pikes Peak Center on February 6, Beaver Creek's Vilar Performing Arts Center on February 9, and Aspen's Belly Up on February 10. For the Denver shows, go to Ticketmaster.