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Brian Regan hands out the laughs at Britt

Stand-up comedian Brian Regan has made 26 appearances on CBS' "Late Show with David Letterman," and he has two hour-long Comedy Central shows to his credit: "The Epitome of Hyperbole" and "Brian Regan Standing UP," among his various CDs and DVDs. 

It's easier than one would think to step onto the "Late Show" stage and perform in front of millions of television viewers, Regan says.

"The fun is doing it in spite of sometimes being terrified," Regan says during a telephone interview. "I've found a certain comfort zone, but I'm not so comfortable that it's like walking into a bagel shop and ordering a bagel. I still know the magnitude of it. I have a certain amount of nerves. It's fun to go out there and see what you can do despite the fact that you're a little bit nervous. I've only walked into a bagel shop 25 times."

Regan took time from his crazy schedule to talk about his Saturday, Aug. 23, show at Britt Festivals in Jacksonville. Just one day last week, he gave telephone interviews all morning, met with his manager, went out to sign documents for a new car, took his kids to the dentist and then flew to Canada, where he was set to perform shows all weekend in Calgary, Saskatoon and Winnipeg. He couldn't wait to get to Canada and switch off the lights, he said.

The Britt show is set for 8 p.m. at the festival pavilion, 350 First St. Lawn seating is available for $39. Tickets can be purchased at the Britt box office, 216 W. Main St., Medford, online at www.brittfest.org or by calling 800-882-7488.

Regan's comedy never gets too blue, and he doesn't restrict his material to personal experiences.

"Sometimes observations are involved," he says. "I'll see a news story or something. Like the time I was watching the news and saw a story about how 125,000 gorillas were discovered in Africa. I wondered how 125,000 gorillas just got discovered, and I thought, 'Well, were they hiding behind a tree?' and I got this visual of all of them standing single file behind a tree. Where the heck were they that they just got discovered?"

His Britt appearance will be the fourth one Regan's made in Medford: He performed in 2008, 2010 and 2012 at the Craterian Theater.

"I find Medford audiences to be fun-loving," he says. "They didn't throw tomatoes at me. American culture is a bit homogenized. I can take my act throughout the country and do shows about common American experiences. But what's beautiful about the country is that there still are differences. If you go to Boston, people are going to be different than they are in Medford."

Fellow yuck-ster Gary Brightwell will open Regan's show.

"Gary's a good friend, so I asked him to come along," Regan says. "I like to work with people that I like and like to hang out with. I pick different ones for different weekends. Joe Bolster is one, along with Joe Zimmerman — who is making a move in the comedy world — and Jackie Kashian, a woman comedian, very funny.

"I wish I had more famous names that open for me, but if people have heard of them, they're probably not opening my shows. I could lie and say Jerry Seinfeld opens for me ... when he's lucky enough to get a gig."

Regan was one of the first comedians to appear on an episode of Seinfeld's "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee," broadcast on the Internet.

He's performed live since 1981.

"A long time," he says. "I've been doing it for so long that if I do look at an old clip, I cringe at the sight of my hair. Why would I go on stage looking like that? But it's too late now. It's out there."

During his career, Regan met and married his wife, had two wonderful children and became unmarried, he says. Now based in Las Vegas, he grew up in Miami.

"I thought there's gotta be a place hotter than Miami," he says. "So I searched the world and found Las Vegas."

Though Regan has competed in a handful of competitions over the years, he says comedy isn't supposed to be a contest.

"It's supposed to be an art form — in the way people walk away from a show saying that they enjoyed it," he says. "It was always strange for me when people came up after a show and said, 'You were the funniest one.' It's a weird compliment. I'm not looking for a blue ribbon. I just want to get a laugh, you know." 

He was nominated for a 2014 American Comedy Award for Best Comic, but he was unfazed when when he didn't win it, he says.

"I was happy to be nominated. Sometimes it's easier than winning. When you've been given the 'funniest guy around award,' then people fold their arms and say, 'Hey, prove it to me, Chuckles.'

"If I'm just one of the funniest, then the pressure is off."


Brian Regan was one of the first comedians to appear on an episode of Seinfeld's 'Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,' broadcast on the Internet. Photo courtesy of Jerry Metellus