Brian Regan is not a magician, but rather a stand-up comedian who has pulled off quite a stunt. Over the past seven years, he transitioned from being a regular on the comedy club circuit to headlining performing arts venues without starring in movies, TV or hosting his own radio show. Not bad for a 56-year-old guy from South Florida.
Regan rolls into the NYCB Theatre at Westbury Oct. 25 for a one-night-only gig that will get the crowd giggling about the absurdities of life without using a single four-letter word.
WORKING CLEAN Regan's comedy appeals to a broad audience because his material is completely clean. Some of his best-known bits are focused on everyday things like Little League Baseball, Pop Tarts and fusing the expressions "take care" and "good luck" into the awkward phrase "take luck!"
"I just decided early on to try going completely clean for the goof of it," says Regan. "As a comedian, I wanted to see how hard I can get people laughing without hitting certain topics or words."
Because he doesn't work blue, Regan was able to sell out 10 consecutive shows at Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake City last year, beating Jerry Seinfeld's record of four.
"Because I work clean, the Mormon community is going to respond to that," Regan says. "I feel incredibly embraced there."
Salt Lake City is not the only area where Regan is popular. While he tours the country, he is routinely welcomed by big crowds on Long Island.
"I performed on Long Island a lot when I was trying to get my foot in the door in the comedy world," Regan says. "To be able to come to the NYCB Theatre at Westbury and make that place feel full is a nice feeling."
A COMIC IS BORN It was a speech class at Heidelberg College in Ohio that opened up Regan's mind to a career in comedy.
"When I first got the class laughing, I had never experienced anything like that. It just got in my bones," says Regan. "I remember walking back to the dorm after the class thinking, 'I don't feel like this coming back from biology.' "
Ten credits shy of graduating, Regan quit college with his parents' blessing to become a stand-up comic.
"The reasoning behind getting my degree was so I'd have something to fall back on. But I felt that would be pursuing a negative goal," Regan says. "I wanted to work toward being a successful comedian. Why would I start that quest by working towards a safety net?"
GOING FOR LAUGHS Early on, Regan tried teaming up with his older brother, Dennis, to form a comedy duo. But when that didn't fly, they went their own paths. Today Dennis tours as a headlining act, but there's no sibling rivalry.
"We are too lazy to be competitive" Regan says. "Dennis is a cerebral comic who reads books, talks about history and culture. I get on stage, cross my eyes and hunch over."
Regan uses several tools to get laughs. He chooses his words purposefully and puts on a goofy tone and inflection in his voice to deliver a line, then uses his face and body to play out the joke.
"I try to come off as an everyday Joe," Regan says. "I want to be of the people, not above the people. I'm just talking about the human condition and this life we're all living. Let's have a little fun with it."
These days Regan is happy filling theaters but wouldn't mind landing a TV show -- on his own terms.
"I'm not into compromising creatively. I feel like I know how to do what I do, and it's difficult to have networks go along with that philosophy," Regan says. "I don't want them to turn to me and say, 'That's all good but . . . can we have a chimpanzee in the show?' "
WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m. Oct. 25, NYCB Theatre Westbury
INFO 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com