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Brian Regan doesn't need your joke tips

After telling thousands of jokes over the years, Brian Regan has become one of the most respected comedians in the field. Regan just wrapped up a role in the new Peter Farrelly television series “Loudermilk,” set to debut on the Audience Network in the fall. He returns to the area for a show March 18 at the Seneca Niagara Casino.

Question: What was it like making your “Tonight Show” debut during the Johnny Carson era?

Answer: Yes, that was a big thing for me. At the time, that was every comedian’s quest to do “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson. Now, comedians have different goals. Some might want to do a podcast. Some might want a sitcom, or be an actor in a movie. Some might just want to stay as a stand-up. But when I was starting, everybody was working toward that same goal. I was lucky to achieve that before he retired.

Q: When people find out what you do as you go about your private life, do they ask you to start telling jokes?

A: It’s tricky for me. I’m not a life of the party kind of guy. I like letting other people be in the limelight, you know what I mean? Even in party situations, I like when other people are funny. I like to laugh at others, and am not a “lampshade on the head” kind of guy. When somebody finds out you’re a comedian, the conversation that follows is (often) awkward. Sometimes people are cool, but other times people will go right to, “Tell me a joke.” Or they’ll tell you a joke, and then say you can use the joke in your act. It’s amazing to me. “You know nothing of me or my act, and yet you’re giving me a joke you didn’t think of. It’s awfully nice of you!” It would be like somebody telling me they’re a doctor, and I say, “Let me tell you how to finish up an operation.”

Q: You’ve stuck to stand-up over your career. I’m sure you’ve been given other opportunities for other projects. What’s your career philosophy?

A: I like stand-up, and I like it as an end result. Oftentimes, people use it as a stepping stone, which is fine. Everybody can make their own choices, but I like it for what it is. I like (Jerry) Seinfeld’s model when he was fortunate enough to get his TV show. He is a stand-p, and he almost did the TV show as an aside. He doesn’t need any money; he just does (stand-up) because he loves it. I like the craft of standup too, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like to do something else. If I were to be lucky enough to do a TV show, it would have to be about how I think as a comedian. I’ve been resistant over the years to get involved in things that other people have done, and done well. Why do my version of something that’s already out there?

Q: So as you roll into Niagara Falls, what kind of topics do you deal with in your current set?

A: I’m dipping my big toe into the water of current events, political and otherwise. I never want to be a one-trick pony or a caricature of myself, so the only way to feel excited about myself on stage is to keep moving. Lately I’ve got a couple of jokes about guns, assault weapons, Kim Jong-Un, the election process and things that might be surprising to some fans of mine. But that’s what I want to do, just keep rolling along.


Who: Brian Regan

Where: Seneca Niagara Casino Events Center, 310 4th St., Niagara Falls

When: 8 p.m. March 18

Cost: $25-$65


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