On the cusp of his Sunday special on Comedy Central, I talked with Brian Regan about the power of public speaking, working clean and how tour buses are the death of comedians.
You have this reputation for being a clean comedian. But I think it’s very easy for people who haven’t seen you to assume that clean trumps funny for you. Do you think people make that mistake sometimes?
Yeah. This has been a long struggle for me. I never really describe my own comedy as clean. It’s what other people do. But I always worry that it oversimplifies it to say that it’s clean. To me, an empty stage for an hour is clean. (laughs) Nobody’s going to see that.
Is that because the landscape of comedy has changed so much? Before people were encouraged to not work blue. But that stigma about working blue now, so it feels like everybody goes blue now.
It’s true. I just work the way that I like to work. It has nothing to do with me sitting down and saying, “OK, I’m going to write clean comedy.” I just write the kind of comedy that I like to do. It just happens to be clean.
But, at the risk of sounding like I’m patting myself on the back, I do think it’s interesting. I like what I do as a comic and hopefully other people like it as well. But I always felt that there’s a lot of people out there who hopefully like me who don’t think one way or the other if it’s clean. They just think, “He’s a pretty funny guy.” I’d like to think people aren’t coming to see me going, “Man, we’re going to see some clean comedy.” (laughs)
But it is refreshing to have someone like you out there. Because though I do enjoy the dark stuff, there’s something great about something that’s pure enjoyment – that kind of gets to laughter’s cleansing power.
I appreciate that. As far as liking dark comedy, I’m the same way. There are so many comedians out there who work blue or dirty or raunchy, who I think are incredible. Comedy is like music. There’s a bunch of different things under the broad music umbrella. You got rock and roll on one side, you got jazz on the other side. A jazz person can enjoy a rock and roll band and vice versa. I like doing what I do as a comedian but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a Nick Di Paolo or a Chris Rock.