Brian Regan brings jokes to Gallo

mrowland@modbee.comSeptember 19, 2013 

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    WHAT: Brian Regan

    WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Thursday

    WHERE: Rogers Theater, Gallo Center for the Arts, 1000 I St., Modesto

    TICKETS: Sold out

    CALL: (209) 338-2100

    ONLINE: www.galloarts.org

Twice is just as nice for funnymanBrian Regan.

The comedian is set to sell out his second consecutive show at the Gallo Center for the Arts on Thursday night. His first show at the venue in June 2012 was also a full house.

“Audiences simply love him, which is why we are happy to bring Brian back,” said Doug Hosner, marketing and public-relations director for the Gallo Center. “He is not only screamingly funny, but also refreshingly clean.”

Regan is among a handful of highly successful comics touring who work clean – that is, without profanity or off-color jokes. Other clean contemporaries include Jerry Seinfeld, Bill Engvall and Jim Gaffigan. In fact Seinfeld once called Regan “a straight-up goofball.”

The 55-year-old comic is known for his observational, sarcastic and self-deprecating humor. He spoke about his comedy heroes with the Vancouver Sun last month, including the likes of George Carlin and Steve Martin.

“I like my comedy to be double-barrel. I have the goofy side of things but hopefully put a little thought into it as well. For silly to be really funny, it usually has to be smart, at least the kind of stuff Steve Martin did,” he told the newspaper. “I was a Jerry Lewis fan, too. A lot of people go, ‘What’s with these people in France, thinking Jerry Lewis is funny.’ Well, he is funny. I used to love watching his movies, ‘The Bellboy’ and stuff like that. He was so ridiculously goofy and silly, yet you could tell thought had to go into what he was doing.”

Regan’s brand of goofy comedy includes riffs on everyday life, like going to the emergency room, selecting a greeting card or eating Fig Newtons. While he began his career in the 1980s, Regan’s big break on TV came in 1991 when he was invited to perform on “The Tonight Show” by its legendary host Johnny Carson. An appearance on David Letterman followed in 1995, and he has returned to that show more than 20 times since.

Funny just seems to run in his family. Regan’s older brother, Dennis Regan, also is a stand-up comedian and former writer for the sitcom “The King of Queens.” He grew up in Miami in a home packed with his parents and his seven siblings.

“It was fun to make everyone laugh in my family. It wasn’t like there was one person, like, ‘Go ahead and try (in a menacing voice),’” he told the Vancouver Sun. “Both my mom and dad have great senses of humor. You could get my dad on a laughing jag that felt like being on a drug. Or how I imagine a drug would be. It had to be interesting and clever and ironic, it couldn’t just be buffoonery. It had to be something that was thought out. It was fun to sit there and go, ‘Man, I thought of something, and said it, and he’s laughing.’”

Audiences haven’t stopped laughing, either. Since graduating out of comedy clubs in 2005, Regan has toured nonstop, playing theaters and larger venues. He stops in more than 80 cites a year, many of them repeat appearances. And, like at the Gallo Center, he continues to sell out doing comedy his way.

“(Clean comedy) is what I’m most comfortable doing as a comedian,” he told the Oregon Daily Emerald earlier this month. “In terms of being a fan, I like dirty comedy, clean comedy, political comedy and silly comedy…but as a performer, I choose to do what I do just because it’s fun for me....I might be looking at the same things other people are looking at, but I say it in a different kind of way. For me, it’s fun to see how I can get people to laugh without saying some buzzwords.”

Bee staff writer Marijke Rowland can be reached at mrowland@modbee.com or (209) 578-2284. Follow her on Twitter @marijkerowland.

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