Brian Regan is a stand-up, but not a stand-still, comic.
His loping restlessness proved troublesome for one early observer, a New Jersey TV cameraman who couldn’t keep up the pace.
“He said, ‘Pal, I gotta talk to you, pal. You’ve got a real problem, pal. You’ve gotta learn how to stand there, like the other guys,’ ” recalls Regan, who makes a return visit to the INB Performing Arts Center on Saturday.
“So afterward, in the clubs, I started not moving around as much. And the other comedians asked, ‘How come you’re not doing your thing, where you walk back and forth?’
“And finally, I’m like, ‘Um, because the camera operator in Jersey told me not to.’ ”
Q. You didn’t set out to be a “clean” comedian.
A. It’s not a prudish thing, or a values thing. Some people get the wrong idea and think that I think “clean” comedy is better than “blue” comedy, which isn’t the case at all. There are dirty comedians out there who are incredible. I just enjoy seeing how hard I can get people laughing without hitting certain buzzwords.
Q. Who was your earliest comic role model?
A. Steve Martin
Q. You don’t like to talk about your wife and kids in the act. That must mean losing a lot of material.
A. I might do one joke about my little boy, just so the audience has an idea who I am. But I don’t want to go too far in that direction, because I want my comedy to be from the perspective of a person anybody can relate to. …
Plus, certain jokes become dated. I remember working with a guy who did this great routine about changing his baby’s diapers. He did it the entire weekend we were working together, and at the end I asked him how old his kids were. He says, “17 and 19.”
Q. How old are your kids?
A. 10 and 5.
Q. Do they appreciate what you do to put food on the table?
A. My wife wanted to show our daughter what Daddy did, so we all sat down as a family and we put in a tape of Daddy’s work. She wasn’t even 5 at the time, and she was looking at it and she was very polite, and she said, “That’s really good. Can we put the cartoons back on?” Sure, we’ll put the cartoons back on, sweetie.
Q. You’re the fourth of eight children. And you all paired off in careers?
A. We have two comedians, two firefighters, two schoolteachers and two salesmen. I mentioned it to one of my brothers recently, and he said, “Wow, I hadn’t realized that.”