As far as I know, Brian Regan is the only standup comedian who can attract thousands of fans to his live shows even though he’s not a household name and has never starred in a sitcom. This large and faithful following comes from three decades on the road, countless television appearances, a seemingly endless supply of new material, and the fact that you know you’re going to laugh hard. Real hard.
Regan is also unique in that his material is clean. Not so much as a “hell” or a “damn.” He never talks about sex. He’s rarely topical, and when he is it’s never political or divisive. What he does is observe the world around him and the situations he finds himself in.
He’s usually the butt of these jokes, but when he’s not, there’s no smugness or superiority, and his physical gifts are right up there with Jerry Lewis.
In this day and age, when everyone in entertainment is being bullied into attacking Trump and his supporters, being leaned on to acknowledge systemic racism and toxic whiteness, Regan comes off as something more than unique, he comes off as a man of principle and courage interested only in what the customers want. He’s not interested in sucking up to critics, his peers, the industry, or engaging in anything close to virtue signaling.
He wants to make you laugh. That’s it.
On the Rocks, Regan’s second hour-long Netflix special premiered this week and is a thing of hysterical beauty. It’s also a welcome break from the unceasing toxicity of smug leftism that emanates from every sector of today’s entertainment industry.
Recorded in October of 2020, you won’t hear the word “Trump” and the only mention of the coronavirus epidemic is to explain his gray hair. “COVID hit, I went into hibernation, and came out a senior citizen.” After that, it’s classic Regan, an hour of huge laughs, funny faces, hilarious observations, and a blissful escape from an increasingly toxified culture that’s become mean, superior, and hyper-politicized.
Regan’s life is like everyone else’s. He’s been married and then divorced. He has kids. Late last year he contracted the China Virus. Nevertheless, the closest he comes to getting personal is confessing his OCD diagnosis, which results in him asking, “How come when you want things in order they call it a disorder?” We’re then treated to how he arranges his bookshelves.
My favorite part was his debate with a woman at a cocktail party who states as fact animals are smarter than people. He also had me on the floor wondering why we’re looking for water on Mars when we have plenty of it here. “Come here, Mr. Scientist. When I lift up this handle the water comes out and appears to have no end.”
Regan’s brilliance is how he turns the mundane into something the gives you convulsions, which is probably why he is one of those rare comedians that comedians admire (and never want to follow on stage). I know of no other comedian who could make his bit about how he got around his New Year’s resolution to stop asking for “extra mayonnaise” to work.
A lot of comedians you can repeat the jokes to your friends and they still work. Regan is different because it’s the physicality of the performance, what he does with his face and body, that puts it over.
On the Rocks is a remarkable hour and well worth your time, something you can watch with kids of any age. And if you enjoy it, check out his other material on YouTube, especially his classics about getting packages ready for UPS, a trip to the emergency room, pop tarts, and what it must be like to be paid by the government not to grow corn.
There’s also Regan’s first Netflix special Nunchucks and Flamethrowers.