Brian Regan's clean, clever style isn't necessarily the traditional adult-oriented fare you'll find at comedy clubs. But that's okay, because Regan isn't at a comedy club. He performs in theaters, entertaining his large fan base with the clever material they've come to expect over his long career.
He took part in a Q&A with Creative Loafing in advance of his show Friday night at The Straz.
CL: Your comedy is witty but clean. Do you try to "write clean," or is that your natural creative voice?
Regan: I don't sit in front of a blank piece of paper and say to myself, "Come on clean comedy! Come out of me! Come out lily white!" I just do stuff that interests me comedically and it tends to be clean stuff, I guess.
How do you combat the perception that dirty comedians are the edgy ones just because they curse or tackle off-color topics?
I let other people make those judgments. The word "edgy" is really very strange. Can someone be so edgy they're no longer edgy? Can someone be so un-edgy that he actually becomes edgy again?
There's a difference between being a popular comedian with the public, and being popular with the comedy community. You've been able to manage both. Why is that, and is that peer respect important to you?
I'm honored when comedians like what I do. But I like to make sure the audience is laughing too. What I guard against most is having both audiences AND comedians think I'm lousy.
Many comedians who work theaters get there due to a breakout role on a hit show, or one turn in a successful movie that propels them to stardom. Your path has been more gradual, building on the success of comedy specials and appearances, rather than one home-run break. Is that just the way things worked out or was it intentional, and do you prefer that path to success?
It just kind of worked out that way. It's very cool to see a room full of people and know they are not there to see the guy from the 7-Up commercial or from the chicken movie. If they're there to see me, it has to be from my comedy because I haven't yet been able to land a 7-Up commercial or a chicken movie.
Your older brother, Dennis, is also a comedian. Comedians are usually a mixture of competitive and supportive at the same time, and brothers can be the same way. What's it like having multiple comedians in one family?
Dennis and I are both pretty cool with each other. I love when he does Letterman or has any kind of career success. I'm not sure how someone else's success would hurt me. I love when he does well.
Like many performers, you've released material via your website (2010's All By Myself) rather than through more traditional channels. How did that work out for you, what did you learn and is it something you'd pursue again in the future?
There are advantages and disadvantages to self-producing. When you self-produce you make more of the lion's share of sales per unit, but you might get fewer new eyeballs. If you let someone else produce
(example: Comedy Central special/DVD) you make less per unit, but you get more eyeballs. New eyeballs are in the sockets of new fans who will come watch you in concert. So, in the end, it's all good.
How would you describe your style to someone who hasn't seen you before? Not how critics describe it. How would you describe it yourself?
I don't know how to describe my comedy. I prefer people see it and describe it however they choose. I'd be okay if someone described me as the guy who sips water out of a bottle between his jokes.
What can longtime fans (and new fans) expect from your upcoming show?
I'll be the guy sipping water out of a bottle between my jokes.
Showtime is Friday at 8 p.m. Tickets are $45. 1010 N. MacInnes Place in Tampa. Info: strazcenter.org