Brian Regan is one of the best stand-up comedians who has ever done it. Under his belt is decades of stand-up experience, multiple hour-long specials, two albums, and a record 28 appearances with David Letterman. Last night came Regan’s greatest challenge – a LIVE one hour special on Comedy Central, something that has never been done in the history of the network. So when the IBang asked Dan Perlman and I to cover the event and experience it for ourselves, we jumped. I can’t think of another comic who has built up such a following exclusively through stand-up. Regan has never had a major television show, or big movie roles, he is a pure, gifted stand-up comic. Patton Oswalt recently called him “superhumanly funny.”
We’re both huge fans but neither of us had ever seen Brian Regan do stand-up live, or even seen a show at Radio City Music Hall, so arriving at the theater and seeing scores of Regan fans waiting for the doors are open was exciting. We signed on to cover the event, interact with the fans and share what we saw on Periscope and Twitter. Periscope is a live streaming app that allows viewers anywhere in the world to see what you see, so we took Periscope into the crowd to find out what people had to say. Fans told us their favorite bits reciting them like they were in elementary school and doing impressions. We met fans doing high-kicks, like the Radio City Rockettes, did some matchmaking with two fans there on their own, and made some friends like a Maryland couple, who brought us pizza.
At 8pm, the curtains opened to a sold out theater. New York stand up Joe Zimmerman opened, followed by a Regan’s longtime friend Joe Bolster. Both have opened for Regan before and both had great material that got the already hyped crowd laughing. When the two opening acts finished their sets a voice announced we were four minutes away and the crowd went nuts.
More than 6,000 fans erupted as Regan took the stage with Comedy Central cameras racing around on a crane high above. Regan jumped right in with a Pope joke, and when brian started his first set up, saying he got his annual physical the audience roared. Regan did not slip up once. He seamlessly worked through bits about his first-ever job at IHOP, being confused in a local news interview with screenwriter Brian Regan who wrote 102 Dalmatians, infinity pools, forgetting people’s names, and sports press conferences.
One line Regan said in his set was one that he’d previewed in his most recent appearance on SiriusXM radio show Bennington, that he wishes he owned a second basketball team in Miami, so when people ask him what the name of the team is, he could say, “It’s not the Heat, it’s the Humidity.” Regan told Ron Bennington that when he first told that joke in a radio interview years ago, the DJ scoffed and cut to break. But at Radio City, the joke crushed.
Regan sent the show to commercial 28 minutes in. While everyone watching on Comedy Central saw Regan do a progressive ad, in the theater Brian just said, “You guys are great. We’ll be right back,” took a sip of water, said “okay, we’re back. That didn’t feel like four minutes,” and launched right back into his set. He closed with the strongest material of the night about his rage at hotel clerks who blame you for their mistakes or can’t find your reservation. He de-stroyed, rapid fire going through the hypotheticals of what would have to happen for Regan to panic enough to forget his own name while making a reservation. It was like a fireworks finale. He ended the set right on time. Total pro.
In a brief encore, Regan walked out to thanked Radio City, Comedy Central, his kids, and the live audience for making it such special night.
Most comedians film two shows, months in advance, to carefully pick the best material before releasing an album or special. Regan did one show, live, on one of the biggest stages in comedy — and he annihilated. It was truly an amazing experience to witness. It’s almost like what NBA commentators will say about Lebron James. Lebron is the best in the game right now, everyone knows it, but it isn’t until you see him play in person that you can truly appreciate and understand how unbelievably good he is at every facet of the game. The same goes for Brian Regan. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen and combined with the atmosphere in Radio City that night, it only solidified why Brian Regan should be considered one of the greatest living comics.
As a man seated a row behind us say to his son right as the lights dimmed before the show began, “It’s Brian Regan. He’s the funniest thing who ever lived.”
— The Interrobang (@TheIBang) September 27, 2015