Review: Brian Regan’s “The Epitome of Hyperbole”

Patton Oswalt recently wrote that anyone looking to become a comedian should simply watch Brian Regan: The Epitome of Hyperbole and try doing what Regan does. "You won’t even come close, but your attempt to come close to the pure brilliance that is Brian Regan will, by default, make you a better comedian than you are, or could have been," Oswalt wrote on his MySpace blog earlier this month. "I should know. It’s worked for me."

What is it about Brian Regan that sets him apart?

Regan doesn’t seek out controversial topics, joking about reading, art, jury duty, TV cooking shows and the like. Nor does he litter his performance with profanity. Rather, he jokes about everyday subjects with an Everyman quality, hunching his body and bobbing his head while darting across the stage (though not as physical now as he was years ago), oftentimes adopting a quintessentially dumb guy approach to observational humor. He jokes about not reading newspaper stories that continue past the front page. He jokes about knowing nothing about art. And whatever he’s joking about, he makes it easily relatable to audiences. As his manager, Rory Rosegarten, says on the DVD, "The audiences embrace him tremendously." While other comedians go into acting in TV and movies, or writing gigs, Regan has continued to pummel premises and tour the country as a stand-up for the past two decades, the past five years or so selling out theaters. Here’s a bonus clip from Regan explaining his methodology:

Regan also has proven an ability to turn over new material, producing three different hourlong specials in the past four years. If there’s anything to quibble about on the new DVD, it’s that you want more. His set clocks in just under 41 minutes, with a three-minute encore in which Regan obliges audience requests for his bits on Dora the Explorer and walkie-talkies. There’s also a 13-minute "making of" feature that shows you what goes into, well, producing the show. In the end, of course, Oswalt is right. If you want to become a stand-up comedian, you’d do well to sit yourself down and watch Brian Regan first. Because Regan already is doing whatever it is you think you’re going to do. And he’s doing it quite successfully.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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