They say you shouldn’t meet your heroes, because inevitably you’ll be disappointed. That could not have been further from the case last night with Brian Regan.
He had a show across town at a hockey arena, and came over to hang out afterward. TJ made the connection a few weeks ago, when Regan stopped in to the Laughing Skull, after a Maria Bamford show. TJ even told me we’d be in Kennewick on the same night, and that maybe he’d come hang out again, or even do a guest spot. I was just like, “Yeah, okay TJ. Brian Regan will do a giant sold-out arena, and then drive over in his tour bus to our little show and do a guest spot? Right.” Being “realistic” isn’t always realistic, because that’s exactly what happened.
I had just gone on stage when he walked in and sat down in the audience. It was 9:30, and we were expecting him at 10:15, so I was not mentally prepared for him to see my set, and I felt a noticeable “gulp” sensation from my heart region. I tried to be present, but my brain just went, “Holy shit, there’s Brian Regan!”
“Don’t botch it!”
“Quick, what are your best jokes?!”
“Brian Regan just clapped at something! That’s good right?!”
“Or is he just being nice?
“Should I cut my set short, since Brian Regan is here? He probably doesn’t want to watch comedy.”
“Or should I go long, since Brian Regan is HERE, watching comedy?”
I have no idea if I did well, or terribly. For all I know I spoke in tongues for fifteen minutes.
TJ asked him if he wanted to do a guest set and he did. He opened perfectly with some hair humor, and commented on the convex stage stool at Jack Didley’s, ” could they find a more difficult stool to balance a beer on? Maybe next time they’ll just put a little PYRAMID up here.”
It was amazing to see him live, and performing for a small crowd – several of whom didn’t necessarily know who he was. At one point, a phone from the bar rang loudly, and you could almost see him laugh at the memory, “Oh okay, comedy club.”
We sat in the audience and laughed extremely hard. He broke out into some of his classics and did his spider web joke, which is one of my favs, and frequently quoted.
Just to see him live for the first time would have been enough to make my night, let alone be on the same show. But then he proceeded to hang out and buy us drinks. When one of your heroes starts sending Patron your way, it’s a fun way to fall off the wagon.
He cracked us up for an hour, and then invited us back to his tour bus. I think we all battled the urge to go into fan mode and blurt, “Oh hey Brian, did you know that you’re the best?!”
At one point I let slip a question that was too serious for the situation, and I realized as it came out of my mouth:
“Do you run into challenges with giant theater crowds, that are different from the club challenges?”
In a completely sincere tone he said, “Well, you know, it’s hard when they sing ‘for he’s a jolly good fellow’ and carry you off on their shoulders all the time. Sometimes they aren’t listening, or they might drop you…”
Everyone laughed at my face.
TJ had given him a Beards CD in Atlanta, and it was surreal to see it sitting there on his bus. Toward the end of the night he asked us to sign it.
It seems like stars often become stars, because they are stars (i.e. magnetic, talented, hilarious, etc). People with star power have the ability to give people around them a great experience, and a memory they’ll never forget, and it was nice of Brian Regan to be so generous in that regard.
Meeting your heroes is awesome.
If you’re not familiar with Brian Regan (I’m talking to mostly my Mom here, and perhaps my Dad), he’s one of the most successful and well respected comedians in the world, and one of a very select few without a TV show, who can consistently do arenas, based solely on their stand up. Many of his jokes and mannerisms have made their way into pop-culture, and even some common parlance (“you too” and “take luck”). Most likely, you’ve heard him quoted in conversation without knowing it.
If you feel like laughing, here is a famous bit he does on the emergency room: