Brian Regan got a chance to tell a few jokes on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” a couple of weeks ago, and if you look up the clip on YouTube, you’ll notice that the most popular comment underneath it is this:
“Did will ferrel (sic) and jim carrey have a kid(?)”
“Ah, I’ve gotten Will Ferrell a lot,” says Regan, the loose-limbed, rubber-faced road comic who’ll return to Charlotte’s Ovens Auditorium on April 21. “Jim Carrey not as much as you know I used to, but yeah – I mean, you’re gonna be compared. That’s just the way it is.
“I did a show years ago on the road, and this woman came up to me and said, ‘I absolutely love your work, and I find you absolutely hysterical.’ I’m like, Wow, I like this person! And then she said, ‘By far, my favorite thing of yours is Fire Marshall Bill.’ And I was like, Oh no, she thinks I’m Jim Carrey. I said, ‘Well, it’s one of my favorites, too!’ ...
“Even when they’re point-blank wrong, people still don’t like to be corrected,” Regan continues. “I had a guy tell me his favorite bit of mine was my bouillon cube bit, and I said, ‘Uh, I don’t have a bouillon cube bit.’ And he said, ‘Yes, you do! And it’s my favorite bit of yours.’ So now when people tell me they love my bouillon cube bit, I say ‘Thank you.’ ”
Of course, if he did have a bouillon cube bit, it wouldn’t be outside of his wheelhouse at all. The famously clean comedian’s funniest material centers around his deconstructions of the most ordinary motions we go through in life, from dealing with UPS and traveling by plane to reading food labels and visiting the eye doctor.
But at 58, he is branching out: During his brief set on Fallon’s show in March, Regan told new jokes about why he’d never want to be president, his solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and being Kim Jong-un’s Facebook friend.
“I want to keep like ping-ponging back and forth,” he says. “I like to talk about things that make people go, ‘Oh, OK, this is the Brian Regan we know,’ but then I also like to talk about things where people go, ‘Hmm, this is surprising.’ So now I’ve got jokes about gun control and the Senate confirmation hearings, and then I’ve got jokes about the Pop-O-Matic game Trouble.
“I have to keep changing. If I bore myself, I know I’m gonna bore my audiences.”
He knows Fallon’s fans are different, though.
“If I’m performing on the road, people have a ticket with my name on it. They either already know of me, or friends have said, ‘Hey, we’re gonna go check this guy out.’ So there’s already a bit of a buzz when I hit the stage. But when you do something like Fallon – and nothing against the show, I mean, the show is great to me,” says Regan, who has now been on “The Tonight Show” three times since September 2015. “But that audience, they’re not going, ‘Oh man, we can’t wait to see Brian Regan!’ They’re going, ‘We’re at a Jimmy Fallon taping!!’
He’s not sure this particular audience liked this particular four-minute set, by the way.
As Regan told his first couple jokes, he recalls, “I’m thinking, ‘Well, that could have gotten a laugh, but it didn’t, then the next thing, eh, it could have got a laugh, but it didn’t.’ But that’s the thrill of it. You gotta ride the ride and stay on that bull no matter what. Even if it’s doing nothing. You just gotta sit there on a bull that’s just standing there.”
This might have been his only shot at “The Tonight Show” in 2017, but the Las Vegas resident will get plenty of opportunities this year to test his new blend of topical and observational humor – he’ll perform in 55 cities including Charlotte between now and Christmas.
And he’ll get at least one other shot at TV: This fall, Regan will appear in Audience Network’s new half-hour scripted comedy series “Loudermilk,” created by Peter Farrelly and former “Colbert Report” writer Bobby Mort. It marks Regan’s first paid TV gig since he voiced a character on “The Looney Tunes Show” in 2013.
Although he uses the word “paid” loosely.
“Every couple of weeks, I get a check for $13,” Regan says, laughing. “In fact, one time I did a big venue and they gave me the check for that, then I get home and I had my ‘Looney Tunes’ residual check. Those were the paychecks I deposited. I’m sure the bank teller was like, ‘Why aren’t you doing more of this and less of this?’ ”
When: 8 p.m. Friday, April 21.
Where: Ovens Auditorium, 2700 E. Independence Blvd.
Details: 800-745-3000; www.ticketmaster.com.