Now that's funny
Brian Regan serves up laughs in NH, on Netflix and in TV seriesBy MIKE COTE
New Hampshire Union Leader August 16. 2017 1:05PM
If you go...WHO: Comedian Brian Regan
WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday
WHERE: Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom, 169 Ocean Blvd.
TICKETS: $32 to $60
INFO: casinoballroom.com or 929-4100.
Brian Regan isn’t running for election, but this year he’ll enjoy an October surprise. That’s when both his first comedy special for Netflix and his co-starring role in a TV series will make their debuts.
Regan has been playing clubs, theaters and arenas for years, but his TV gigs have generally been limited to appearances on late-night talk shows and the occasional standup special, so having such a one-two punch is pretty special for him.
“I’ve gone through years where I’ve had nothing, and I’m wondering, ‘What if both of these premier on the same night at the same time? I’m either the luckiest or the unluckiest guy in show business,” said Regan, who is performing Friday at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom.
Regan actually didn’t sound too worried about it during a recent interview from his Las Vegas home. The acting gig, though, did test his fortitude. For the first time in many years, he wondered whether he had what it takes.
Regan co-stars in “Loudermilk,” a 10-episode comedy series co-created by “Dumb and Dumber” director Peter Farrelly that was produced for AT&T’s Audience Network. The show stars Ron Livingston as a recovering alcoholic and substance abuse counselor who runs small group sessions.
“There’s certainly some serious stuff because it’s about substance abuse. But it’s very funny along the way. I play one of the people in the small group,” said Regan, 59. “The episodes will go off on tangents based on people in the small group and what’s going on in their lives. There are a couple of episodes where I’m more prominently featured.”
While Regan had a small role in Chris Rock’s comedy “Top Five” in 2015, he had next to no acting experience. But he was excited about taking up the challenge after Farrelly recruited him.
Farrelly filmed the series in Vancouver, shooting scenes out of order depending on budget and logistical issues. For Regan, that meant creating his character’s most dramatic moment the first day he arrived on the set. Did he pull it off? He had his doubts that day.
“It’s weird for me. I’m wired as a comedian. When people laugh, I know I did well. And when they don’t laugh, it didn’t go so well. You’re on a set with a bunch of people and they just say ‘Cut! Now do this. Cut! Now do this.’ I’m looking around and going, ‘Is this any good?’ It was a very bizarre experience.”
So much so that when Farrelly called him down from his hotel room that night for a drink, he thought he was getting axed.
“I swear, I thought he was going to say, ‘You tried. It wasn’t quite what we needed.’ I go downstairs all nervous. He’s going to do this face to face, which I respected, and we get down there and there’s a handful of people at this table, other people who work on the crew. He’s not going to be able to do this with all these people there. Everybody gets up, and he’s like, ‘Ah, all right, man. See you tomorrow,’ to me. He had no idea that the whole time I was expecting to be let go.”
Regan had a chance to preview the two episodes that spotlight his character at the Nantucket Comedy Festival in July.
“I think it came out well, not because I’m in it. I think the show is going to be good. I’m proud to be part of it,” Regan said.
The Netflix special is the first of a two-show deal Regan inked with the streaming network. Unlike his last special — which Comedy Central presented live in real time from Radio City Music Hall in New York — this one was edited from three shows recorded in June at the Paramount Theater in Denver. If you watch closely, you might be able to see Regan fighting to catch his breath, depending on how smooth the editing job went.
“There are a couple of bits after the more physical jokes where I’m kind of breathing heavy on the following joke. And then it dawned on me: Wait a minute, I was performing in Denver, the Mile-High City. I completely forgot about that,” Regan said. “I needed oxygen on stage.”
Regan previously has performed at other locales in Colorado, including Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison.
“I’ve performed in some city in the mountains west of Denver, like Breckenridge or something like that, which is at an even higher elevation than Denver, and they literally do have oxygen tanks off stage, and they tell you about them,” Regan said. “It’s a little disconcerting. I’m just telling jokes for a living. I’m not playing in the NFL. Do I really need this?”