Comedian Brian Regan returns to Buffalo

Prepare to be Regan-ated Sept. 26 at the Seneca Niagara Casino Events Center


When he takes a few weeks off from doing stand-up, comedian Brian Regan’s brain starts “percolating.” He just wants to get back on stage and make people laugh.

And on Friday, the comedian returns to Buffalo at the Seneca Niagara Casino Events Center on Sept. 26.

In advance of his performance, The Spectrum talked with Regan on the phone about his origins as a comedian, influences from his childhood, how he puts a routine together and preshow anxiety.

The Spectrum: What do you like about Buffalo?

Brian Regan: Buffalo is a good city; the people there are real. They’re good football fans. I like the way they’ve supported Buffalo over the years. It’s a cool place. It’s nice to get away from New York and see people who are down to earth sometimes.

TS: What made you want to be a comedian?

BR: One of my first classes in the theater arts major was a speech class and I tried to make my speeches funny. And when the crowd, 30 people in the class, when the very small crowd laughed, it was a very weird feeling and I remember walking my dorm after that thinking to myself I never felt this way when I walked back from accounting class. Something got inside me that took over and it became my question … that was the ‘Eureka’ moment.

TS: What was it like in the beginning?

BR: Well there was a lot of firsts. The first time I got on stage where I said I was going to do comedy. Prior to that I had MC’d some things … you might be funny, you might not be funny. But the first time I tried it and the campus knew ‘Brian Regan is going to do comedy tonight’ once you label it that, it better be that and it wasn’t that. It didn’t work great and it was a difficult experiences. I was on stage and people didn’t really buy it.

TS: More than 30 years later, what’s your biggest takeaway?

BR: The fact that the quest or the dream worked out well enough that I’m still doing it to this day. I really enjoy being a comedian, I enjoy being able to make people laugh, I enjoy being able to make a living from it. The longevity of it was what surprised me. I’m thrilled that I’ve been able to work my life around the goal of doing stand-up comedy.

TS: What’s your favorite thing about performing?

BR: It’s fun to get a crowd going. It’s a reaction you can trust. People don’t fake laugh. People can fake and will fake all kinds of other things in life, but it’s hard to fake a laugh. So when you’re on stage and you have a crowd of people laughing, it’s one of the few things in my life that I feel that I can truly trust.

TS: How do you plan out and remember a routine?

BR: As far as how I come up with a joke, I don’t really know and I’m not trying to be flippant with the answer. I don’t know how the brain does that and I don’t know how some brains do and some brains don’t. What makes someone funny and what makes another person funny, I don’t know. In a way it’s like looking through a prism. One light source without the prism is just a beam, but when it goes through the prism it becomes a beautiful rainbow and I think comedians are like prisms. We take the same thing everyone else is looking at and refract it in a way that’s funny … part of it is inspiration I don’t understand and craft that I do understand.

TS: Did your upbringing have any influence on your career choice?

BR: My mom and dad have eight kids, fortunately my mom and dad and all my brothers and sisters are still around. Everybody in my family is funny in different ways. My mom and dad are both funny people and we made each other laugh quite a bit growing up. As a kid, I didn’t think about being comedian, but I certainly enjoyed making people laugh.

TS: How do you deal with preshow anxiety?

BR: I don’t know if I’ve figured that out … or if I ever will. I always tend to come up with analogies, but it’s like in golf, anyone can make a 6-foot putt, but can you make a 6-foot putt when you need it to win the Masters? It’s the same thing with comedy. A lot of people can be funny. But can you be when you gotta be funny? So part of it is actually being comfortable and part of it is looking like you’re comfortable … you’re trying to give this illusion that you’re floating and having fun and this stuff is coming off the top of your head. None of this is true.

This interview was edited for length