Brian Regan dropped out of Heidelberg College in Ohio during his senior year in the early 1980s to pursue a comedy career. He has steadily built a following with appearances on Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show," David Letterman, Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien. Dennis Miller once said that "nobody makes me laugh harder than Brian Regan." Regan will appear at 8 p.m. Thursday in the Riviera Theatre, 67 Webster St., North Tonawanda. Tickets are $33.50 and are available at the box office or through Ticketmaster. He spoke by phone from his home near Las Vegas.
>You started off in college thinking you'd become an accountant, the same profession in which Bob Newhart started. What makes accountants so darn funny?
My dad was an accountant, and Dad is one of the funniest guys I know. I owe my sense of humor to both of my parents.
With accounting, maybe it's because the numbers are so boring that you'd better do something with your brain to compensate or else you'd go crazy.
>You're not known for doing topical humor, but when something like the Dick Cheney hunting incident comes along, how can you resist taking a shot?
I usually have maybe two or three topical jokes, just to look like I'm somewhat involved in the world.
I listened to the interview where Cheney talked about it. He sounded like the guy who just got pulled over by a cop and he keeps saying, "I just had one beer, that's it. One beer was all I had."
I was talking to someone about the fact that if the guy [who Cheney shot] had died, if the incident turned tragic, then there would be no humor here. When he had the heart attack the other day, everyone had to back off. But with his health improving, it's like wow, comedians start your engines!
>What's the status of the sitcom project you were creating with Bill Lawrence?
I was developing a script with Bill Lawrence [the creator of "Scrubs"] and Tim Hobert, his writing partner. I just found out two days ago that it's officially over and done. We had written a script, sent it around to the networks, and they all passed on it.
I kind of saw it coming, but it's still disappointing. Those guys are so talented, I just feel badly that they had to put a loss in their won-loss column because they were weighed down by the Brian Regan anchor.
>Now that you're a star, do you think Heidelberg College might ask you back to give a commencement speech?
I wonder about that. I don't think I'm a big enough star yet. They had Ed McMahon give the commencement speech last year. I thought, man, that would be fun to do, but I don't think it's the kind of thing you offer to do, you have to be asked.
Even if I told them I'm available, they'd probably say, "Well, you weren't available for YOUR OWN graduation, so we'll pass."
-- Greg Connors