Comedian Brian Regan last performed in Wilkes-Barre in 2009, but that‚??s not why he remembers the area.
While he grew up in Miami, his father was a railroad worker from Scranton and his mother resided in Binghamton, N.Y.
‚??They went down to Miami, Fla. for their honeymoon and said, ‚??Why would we go back up to Scranton?‚??‚?Ě Regan cracked in a recent phone interview.
‚??We would go up there for vacation. I used to joke with my mom and dad, saying ‚??We live in Miami, Fla. and we‚??re going to Scranton for our vacation?‚?? We were relentless. We would go up there to see our relatives and stuff like that, so I spent a lot of time in that area. It‚??s interesting to be able to perform there.‚?Ě
Returning to the northeast on Nov. 10 for a show at the F.M. Kirby Center (71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre), he now calls Las Vegas, Nev. home, one that is much less crowded than his upbringing with seven brothers and sisters.
‚??Oddly enough, of the eight kids, there are four occupations ‚?? there are two comedians, two firefighters, two schoolteachers, and two salesmen, so I tell people we grew up on an ark. It‚??s very weird,‚?Ě he joked.
He credits them with shaping his sense of humor, which may have saved him from life as an accountant.
‚??I was all geared up for one exciting life of accounting and I burned out on that after about three weeks of accounting classes (in college). I switched majors to communication and theater arts. One of my first classes in that new major was a speech class and I used to try to make my speeches funny just so I wouldn‚??t bore myself to tears. I remember that feeling I got after I got the class laughing, that feeling of walking back to my dorm. I remember saying to myself, ‚??I didn‚??t feel like this when I walked back from accounting class,‚?? so that‚??s what gave me the bug,‚?Ě Regan recalled.
The now 55-year-old has trusted his gut ever since, formulating material based on his everyday life.
‚??I kind of tightrope between real stuff and silly stuff. I like to keep going back and forth with it because I don‚??t want the audience to start figuring me out. I like to do bits and I want the audience to be saying to themselves, ‚??Is this true? Or this just like a true story that he‚??s telling that‚??s funny, or is this going to get a little quirky at the end?‚??‚?Ě he explained.
‚??Every once in a while, I throw a curveball and have people go, ‚??Well that‚??s clearly absurd. I don‚??t believe that happened,‚?? and then the next joke, they‚??re expecting absurdity and you give them more reality. So it‚??s fun to go back and forth.‚?Ě
Not every incident is funny at the time, however.
‚??I have a whole routine about going to the emergency room, which is a true story. Clearly I wasn‚??t laughing like a maniac while it was happening, but a couple weeks later you look back and go, ‚??Hey, there was some funny stuff there,‚??‚?Ě he noted.
Featured in two Comedy Central specials, Regan‚??s clean jokes have helped him gain a nationwide audience, but it‚??s not something he consciously writes for a specific crowd.
‚??I like just talking about everyday things, and so my mind, comedically, doesn‚??t really gravitate (towards profanity). Yeah, there‚??s a nice by-product in the fact that a lot of audiences also like it, but I don‚??t put the cart before the horse. To me, I just do it because I like it, and if there are people out there that also like it, then great, I guess I get to have a career out of it,‚?Ě he said.
‚??The topics are purposely bland. I like to try to pull comedy out of everyday things. I talk about food and I talk about going to the doctor and I just talk about things that everybody does on a daily basis. If you just read the topics, you might go, ‚??Well this seems a little milquetoasty, but I‚??m trying to find peculiarity within those.‚?Ě
Over the years, he has made friends with comics like Jerry Seinfeld, but he has largely favored a career in stand-up over television and movies, self-releasing his latest special, ‚??All By Myself,‚?Ě through his website, brianregan.com.
‚??If something came my way that had to do with my comedy and how I think as a comedian, I‚??d be open to it, but I‚??ve been resistant over the years to get involved with somebody else‚??s creative vision just for the sake of becoming a sitcom star. That doesn‚??t really interest me. I like the comedy,‚?Ě Regan insisted.
‚??If my comedy can be famous, then I‚??ll be happy to go along for the ride, but I don‚??t want to become famous in lieu of my comedy. I don‚??t want to leave that behind.‚?Ě
Brian Regan, Nov. 10, doors at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m., F.M. Kirby Center (71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre). $39.50.