Fans of comedian Brian Regan were in for a surprise after tuning into the Peter Farrelly- and Bob Mort-created dark comedy “Loudermilk” on the Audience Network.
Right there, in the middle of a support group for recovering alcoholics, was Regan, or rather, his character Mugsy.
And while Regan is known for his clean comedy, Mugsy is anything but.
“ ‘Loudermilk’ is not clean at all, and my character can say some foul things,” Regan said from his home in Las Vegas.
Farrelly approached Regan about joining the cast after comedian Jackie Flynn, who plays Tony on “Loudermilk,” suggested he see Regan’s stand-up act.
Having been approached about projects in the past, only to never have anyone follow through, Regan wasn’t sure if he’d hear from Farrelly again, but when he called a few days later to hammer out the details, Regan jumped at the chance to play Mugsy.
“I wanted to wear the actor’s hat for a short time,” Regan said. “I want to serve someone else’s comedic vision. It’s Peter Farrelly and Bobby Mort’s comedic vision. I want to serve them and try acting. What the heck? You only live once.”
Regan spent his first few days on set worried that he wasn’t “rising to the occasion,” but after Farrelly suggested he ad lib a bit, he started to feel more comfortable.
Regan’s big episode, episode three, involves Mugsy reconnecting with his daughter Latte, who he hadn’t seen in years.
Audiences have taken to the show, which stars Ron Livingston as the abrasive Sam Loudermilk, a recovering alcoholic working as a substance abuse counselor; it currently has an audience score of 94 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
But before he begins work on season two of “Loudermilk,” Regan is focusing his attention back on his stand-up career, which brings him to the INB Performing Arts Center on Sunday.
In 2015, Regan released “Brian Regan: Live From Radio City Music Hall” for Comedy Central, and in November, he released “Nunchucks and Flamethrowers,” the first of two specials he’ll release through Netflix.
If that seems like a tight turnaround, it was.
The thing that helped Regan though was the fact that his special prior to “Live from Radio City Music Hall,” called “All By Myself,” was released several years before, in 2010.
“I had a lot of time to not only work on the Radio City special, but to also think ahead for replacement material after that, which led up to ‘Nunchucks and Flamethrowers,’ ” he said.
In “Nunchucks and Flamethrowers,” Regan riffs on everything from Kim Jong Un and the phrase “boots on the ground” to his family and his suggestion to send a “good dad” to help Palestine and Israel get along.
“I don’t care who started it. Knock it off!” he said in the special.
Just five months after the premiere of “Nunchucks and Flamethrowers,” Regan is already working on his second Netflix special, though he said it’s difficult to create a new special on a dime.
“What you do is you bring a new joke in and then one falls by the wayside and you get another one coming in, you get used to that, you figure how that one works and then you drop another joke,” he said. “Little by little, one by one, the old hour fades by the wayside and the new hour starts replacing it.”
Regan said 60 to 70 percent of the material he’ll perform in Spokane will be part of the new special, which will premiere in 2019.
Regan doesn’t often write out his jokes, instead preferring to work out how he’d like to say each joke onstage in his head.
Once he feels like a joke is ready for the stage, he tries it out, tweaking it here and there based on audience reaction, knowing that the end goal is to make his sets look conversational, as if he’s saying each joke for the first time.
“When you’re telling a routine that has moments and beats and words, it’s like music in its own way,” he said. “There’s a rhythm to it and a flow to it and you tweak it night after night after night to make it look like it’s effortless. I guess it’s a compliment when people think that it is.”
Over the course of his nearly four decades in the business, Regan has gained the adoration of comedy fans and comedians alike.
“(Brian Regan) is our never-fail ideal of what a stand-up performer can be,” comedian Patton Oswalt wrote on Facebook before the premiere of “Live from Radio City Music Hall.” “I have never – EVER – met another stand-up that doesn’t do a low whistle of awe and respect (and envy) whenever his name comes up.”
Regan’s proud of the legacy he’s created, which includes 28 appearances on “Late Show with David Letterman,” more than any other comedian, and is flattered to have the respect of his peers.
“I got into this just because I enjoyed this comedy thing and wanted to see if I could make a living at it and have some fun at it,” he said. “To be able to be at it long enough where other comedians seem to tip their hat my way, it means the world to me.”
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