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A Night At The King Center With Brian Regan



Sharee Young  Article By Chris Davis

A longtime favorite of mine, comedian Brian Regan, recently made an appearance at the Maxwell C. King Center for the Performing Arts in Melbourne, Florida.  The King Center is located on the campus of Brevard Community College and for the relative small town venue this was a show not to be passed up.  Regan has done many television specials including I Walked on the Moon, Brian Regan in Concert and The Epitome of Hyperbole not to mention appearances on David Letterman and Conan O’Brien.  He also finished his latest DVD performance, All By Myself, in 2010 which is available on his website: 

            Regan’s style of comedy is unusual for such a large following for one simple reason: he never uses profanity or off-color humor. "I feel like the elder George Bush -- a kinder, gentler comic," Regan said. "When it comes to what I do for a living, I'm very protective of it. It's almost like something that's living, and I try to nurture it and make sure it's not abused."

 This is a welcome change since so many of today’s comedians depend on being more and more outrageous in their acts.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have what some may call “Will Smith Syndrome” where I only can enjoy clean entertainment.  I also enjoy comics such as Louis C.K. and Dave Chappelle so I’m definitely not biased.  However, Brian Regan brings a brand of universal comedy which reflects everyday life that we’ve all experienced at one time or another whether it’s at the hospital, on an airplane or just reading the instructions from a pop-tart box. 

            I arrived at the King Center about 45 minutes prior to the show and there were already a lot of people funneling in from the parking lot into the lobby.  Parking was very easy to find and there was even a $10 roped off parking section for those who didn’t want their cars to rub elbows with the common man’s car.  Although I will give you a tip that since it may still be light out when you enter the King Center, and dark when you exit, make sure to keep track of which lettered section you parked in. A mistake I will not make again. 

It’s a nice stroll by a small pond on the way to the lobby and due to the agreeable weather there were many people convening outside around the tables and benches prior to the show.  I had my ticket scanned and walked straight to my section, passing the small food stands and open bars (cash only), but since the actual auditorium doors don’t open until a half hour before the show I waited about 15 minutes to gain entrance. 

The auditorium is set up with two tiers, the Grand Tier and Orchestra.  There are no center entrances, only side entrances, 7 for the Grand Tier and 6 for the Orchestra on either side.  Keep that in mind when considering which seat you want since it may become a hassle to sidle past people if you have a center seat and a weak bladder (beverages are allowed in plastic cups during the performance).  The seats are typical fare when it comes to theaters, slightly cramped and as Regan’s older brother, the opening comedian, pointed out only 1.3 arm rests per person. 

            The lights dimmed shortly after 8 o’clock and a voice, which we later found out to be Dennis Regan, introduced…Dennis Regan.  His style of comedy was similar to Brian’s in the way of no profanity but otherwise he definitely had a unique style all his own.  He was less physical in his comedy and most of his jokes pertained to family life and, like his brother, witty observations on everyday life.  His set lasted about a half an hour and immediately upon exiting the stage the headliner came out.  (If you want to hear many of the jokes Dennis Regan did that night here he is on David Letterman doing an almost verbatim set:

            Running out onto the stage amidst booming applause Brian Regan, dressed in a large, purple square patterned dress shirt and jeans, took the mic.  I have seen every stand up special he has done and to my surprise every joke he did was brand new to me.  Though refreshing that he’s not just recycling jokes it made me feel two ways. 

First, I enjoyed it because it’s not just the same old song and dance that we, as an audience, have heard before.  However, second, after a while it felt like Regan may have been using this smaller venue as a tune up or practice for some of his bigger shows so he could weed out which jokes work and don’t work.  He messed up on a couple jokes, though riffed his way out, even admitting that the previous joke was done for the first time and he would be making a note later in the hotel that it was a little “wordy”.  It almost had the feel of a band from 1976 that, instead of playing their hits, played the entire show with songs only from their new album.  In reality, every now and then you wouldn’t mind a classic or two.

            The performance as a whole was a great success.  He began with a lot of observations about the area, making fun of the tiny stature of the local airport and how ungodly hot it is here in Florida.  After about 15 minutes of that he went into his routine that included a lot of funny voices, physical comedy including contorting his face into ridiculous expressions and hobbling around the stage after imitating a cigarette boat racer who amazingly only broke his toe after a horrific accident .  He ended on one of his stronger jokes and after a standing ovation came out to do an ovation worthy finale regarding his first time riding on the back of his friend’s motorcycle and the awkward hilarity that ensued. 

            Overall, I had a great time seeing one of my favorite current standup comedians.  If I could have changed just two things I think I would have brought somebody to share the experience and I would have taken advantage of the open bar because, after all, alcohol does lubricate the joints around the funny bone.  Despite the small issues, the venue and comedian, Brian Regan, gave me a wonderful night full of laughs which will not soon be forgotten.


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