Since his first appearance on The Late show with David Letterman in 1995, comedian Brian Regan has proven a stalwart—and very funny—workhorse comic. Countless late night talk show sets, albums, specials and live shows later, he continues to be one of the funniest men in the industry, and a constantly touring one at that. Regan performs at The Lensic Performing Arts Center Thursday night (8 pm. $47.50-$52.50. 211 W San Francisco St., 988-1234), so if you don't have your tickets already, what are you even doing with your life? Trust us—it's worth it.
Have you noticed that everyone is, like, all about standup lately?
When I first started, stand-up was not a thing, it had not exploded. When I first wanted to be a comedian, the only clubs were in Los Angeles or New York City. But then it exploded in the '80s everywhere, and it became this cool thing where everyone was like, 'Oh, let's go to a comedy club.' Then the novelty wore off and people became more discerning. It dried up a bit, but lately, it's hot again. I don't think it's ever gonna go away—people like to laugh.
What was your worst heckling experience?
I was playing in this bar, and I'm onstage, and it was a bar that did comedy one night a week—those tend not to be policed very well; it isn't like there are door guys who are concerned with the stand-up comedy. It's drunk people. So I hit the stage, and some redneck yells out 'Bend over!' And I said, 'Hey, uh, no thank you. I'm here to do a stand-up show, so, uh, I'm kind of involved with that right now.' I always tend to answer honestly—I pretend it's a nice offer, but I'm going to pass at this time. And so he yells this every minute for my entire set. Nobody thought that maybe he should be stopped. I try to be a nice guy. There are other comedians who are a little more acerbic, so it's easier for them to misdirect a heckler. It's harder for somebody like me to slam somebody and then go back to my joke about donut sprinkles.
Do you have anything else going on to supplement your comedy career?
I pretty much like the stand-up side of the equation. I like that process of thinking of something and feeling like I'm going to be able to hop onstage and deliver it as a stand-up routine. There are so many different ways of getting content to the people, and I like that different skill sets can take advantage of different things—like, there are people who are great at podcasts, people who are great at writing, cartooning. It's nice that people can go, 'This over here is what works for me.' But that doesn't mean I don't like to venture off and do the acting thing or be interviewed. There's one thing I did do that'll be coming out, a show called Loudermilk. Pete Farrely of the Farrely Brothers directed this thing for the Audience Network. It's a 10-episode season, we've already shot it. And that was cool. He saw me do a set, took me aside and the next thing you know I'm on a set.