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Comedian Brian Regan to play NYCB Theatre at Westbury May 11

Comedian Brian Regan works his stand-up gig with

Comedian Brian Regan works his stand-up gig with a clean approach. Credit: Brian Friedman-Bergman

Brian Regan is not a household name, but he’s one of the most popular stand-up comedians in the country. With more than 30 years behind the mic, Regan, 60, puts a clever and clean spin on the average Joe without working blue.

Calling from his home in Las Vegas, Regan spoke with Newsday before playing NYCB Theatre at Westbury on Saturday.

You tend to highlight the silly and goofiness of humanity, then give it a twist. How did this approach develop?

It’s always been important for me that my comedy be double-barreled. For example, Steve Martin’s character on stage was very dumb, naive and goofy, but the comedian who created it was smart and sharp. When I laughed at Steve Martin, I laughed at both levels. As far as my comedy, I try to do the same thing. Even though I want to explore exaggerated fantasies about feeling dumb or stupid sometimes, I want the observer of the whole thing to be a smart guy. I want the audience to go, “This guy must know what’s going on to be able to tap into this.” Hence the double barrel.

How did you establish such a strong relatability with the crowd?

When I’m on stage, I want the audience to feel like I’m a guy that’s in their family, a guy they work with or a guy in their neighborhood. I don’t want to be above or below anybody. I want to be of the people. I’m just a real person sharing thoughts. If you take the reality out of it, it’s just buffoonery, which can be funny, but it’s not as endearing.

When did using body language and vocal tone to accentuate your jokes come into play?

There was one show I had on Long Island in the '80s and the mic wasn’t working. I had to project bigger than I normally would because I needed to capture this crowd and … I killed! I remember thinking, “Maybe there’s something to this.” Going forward, even when my mic was on, I thought it was important to hit every moment as clearly as I can. It made the jokes sharper and more light-bulby.

Why do you purposely refrain from cursing or sexual material?

I like to talk about things on the clean side of the tracks. I want everybody in my audience to feel welcome. I don’t ever want anyone to feel offended.

Is YouTube a friend or foe to comedians?

It’s both. Marketing wise it’s a friend because people who might not know about you can catch a clip, think you’re funny and buy a ticket when you come to town. It’s good in that way. It’s bad in that people try to tape the show with their iPhone and put your content out there before you can release a comedy special. Sometimes the joke is not ready to be filmed yet. I equate it to somebody coming into your kitchen and taking the brownies out of the oven before they are done baking.

BRIAN REGAN

WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m. Saturday, May 11, NYCB Theatre at Westbury, 960 Brush Hollow Road

INFO 800-745-3000, thetheatreatwestbury.com

ADMISSION $59.50-$69.50

THE SEINFELD CONNECTION

Jerry Seinfeld is a Brian Regan fan. The comedian from Massapequa has produced Regan’s new Netflix show, “Stand Up and Away! With Brian Regan,” which mixes stand-up bits and sketches with the same theme. But, this friendship isn’t new. The two comics met back in the 1980s at Catch a Rising Star in New York City.

“Jerry was big man on campus at Catch. I just got off stage from doing my set and he was coming in to do a guest spot,” says Regan. “He said to me, ‘Hey man, I like your stuff. I like the way you work.’ I was like, ‘Wow … thank you, God!’ ”

Impressed by Regan’s 2015 “Live from Radio City Music Hall” comedy special, Seinfeld contacted Regan.

“Jerry said, ‘You should have a TV show,’ and I was flabbergasted,” says Regan. “When he played a show in Vegas, we hung out and I pitched an idea to him. He liked it and then spearheaded the project for me.”

David J. Criblez

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