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Expect the expected

Comedian Brian Regan will make you laugh

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“So the cashier at Burger King is about to hand you your food, and you’re expecting her to tell you, ‘Have a nice day,’ and so you’re already thinking, ‘You, too,’ but instead she says, ‘Enjoy Your Meal.’ And you say, ‘You, too.’”

Brian Regan has built himself into one of the nation’s top touring standup comics largely on the strength of his wry observations about such uses and misuses of language. Regan’s latest tour stops at Tacoma’s Pantages Theater Thursday April 12.

“If you’re having second thoughts about visiting an Indian community, is that a reservation reservation reservation?”

Although his sharp-witted observational humor is more akin to the styles of Cosby and Seinfeld, Regan’s first comedy hero was the wacky Steve Martin of the late 1970s. Martin’s silly but smart comedic style inspired a young Regan to launch his own comedy career by performing at small clubs in south Florida. By 1986, Regan had moved to New York City, where he quickly became one of the most successful comics on the scene, even earning himself the title “Funniest Person in New York” in a 1988 contest. Building on those successes, Regan took himself to the next level in the 1990s, appearing regularly on national television, including the Holy Grail of the comic’s career, an appearance on “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson,” as well as his own TV specials on Comedy Central and Showtime. When all that exposure caused his fan base to outgrow the nation’s comedy clubs, Regan’s touring moved to sold out theaters all over the country.

“People tell you, ‘Expect the unexpected.’ How? Sit at your desk wearing a helmet and holding a fire extinguisher?”

Regan’s performance DVDs have sold hundreds of thousands of copies and popularized a Regan character known as the “Me Monster” — that guy dominating the conversation at the dinner party who can’t stop talking about himself and who, on the rare occasion when another party guest can squeeze in a story, is compelled, seemingly by human nature, to immediately top it with one of his own. It’s that guy that makes Regan wish he could be one of the few astronauts to have participated in lunar walks. That, he says, would allow him to sit back quietly at the party while the Me-Monster has his moment in the sun, knowing all the while that at the right moment, he can play the card that the Me-Monster cannot beat.

“I walked on the moon.”

One odd consequence of having such a large and loyal following as a comic is that audiences will actually shout out requests for popular Regan routines and sometimes even join in the punch lines as if the routine were a sing-along.

“The thing about comedy is that it’s supposed to be a surprise,” Regan joked with a recent audience. “Apparently, that’s not important to you.”

If you’re able to be among those in attendance at Regan’s Pantages performance, when the cabbie drops you off and tells you to “enjoy the show,” be sure and tell him, “You, too.”


[Pantages Theater, Thursday, April 12, 7:30 p.m., $37.50, 901 Broadway, Tacoma, 253.591.5894]

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