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Fresh off a camel, Brian Regan heads to Wichita, preps for Netflix specials

While on tour this summer, Brian Regan will film two Netflix specials, the first taping in late June.

June 3, 2017

Fresh off a camel and sporting a pair of nicely tied shoes, Brian Regan is returning to Wichita.

Regan, 59, will perform at the Orpheum Theatre at 8 p.m. Friday, June 8, ahead of a the first of two Netflix taping he will do later in June. He will perform in Wichita for the fifth time and the first time since 2015.

Regan admittedly said he doesn’t know all the tricks of the trade in stand-up comedy, but he’s learned one thing to show professionalism in any profession: tie your shoelaces.

“I retie my shoes right before I go on stage,” he said of his pre-performance routine. “There’s nothing weirder than walking around on stage with your shoes untied. I don’t want people to question, ‘Does this guy know how to function as a human-being?’

“Like, if a pilot came on a plane with his shoes untied, you might go ‘You know what, I don’t really need to go to this place, I’ll get off and let others take that risk.’”

Regan said he’s still trying to master the art of knotting his shoelaces with a single hand, and until he learns to do so, he’s going to continue to retie his shoes before his performances.

“I’m not that gifted as a performer to tie my shoes with one hand,” he said.

He recalled a few times on stage where his shoelaces had come loose and he had to set the microphone on the stool so he could pause and lace his shoes.

“I don’t think there’s a better show out there, a better experience for a thousand people in the audience, than to sit back in red velvet chairs and watch a guy tie his shoes for you,” he said with a riff of laughter.

“I want people to think that I’m a capable human-being who can tie my own shoes.”

Continuing his tour of more than 100 U.S. cities, Regan stopped for a recent trip to Israel for a five-day tour, one of his first international travels. There, he encountered humorous difficulties with Customs’ agents and even dared riding on the back of a camel.

“It’s not like when you go to Disney World and you hop on a ride and you’re like ‘A lot of people have tested this ride, you know this thing is safe.’ If a camel throws me off, who am I going to complain to?” he said. “It’s pretty terrifying.”

At a counter for Customs in Israel, Regan interacted with a woman seated behind a desk enclosed by plexiglass with an opening at her eye-level. Regan crouched down to speak through the opening.

“She asked what the purpose of my visit was,” he said. “I gave her this piece of paper saying I was doing shows in Israel. She says ‘stand up.’ I thought it might have been inappropriate that I was crouching down, so I stand up. Then she starts murmuring, and I can’t understand what she’s saying — I don’t know what to do.

“I said, ‘I can’t hear you,’ and she motions for me to crouch back down. Then she says ‘stand up.’ So I stand back up, like some weird game that I can’t win and I’m going to end up in Israeli prison, and she goes, ‘Are you doing stand-up!?’

“She’s asking me about my job and I don’t even know,” he said. “I felt so stupid.”

Regan said he wants there to be a certain level of consistency to his material, where people can wrap their heads around his routine, but he also said he tries to resist doing the same material.

“Painters change what they do over the years, musicians change what they do over the years, and I think comedians should do that as well,” he said.

His performances, often made up of authentic life experiences like going to the eye doctor, driving in traffic and waiting in an elevator, he said he’s been pushing some new territory with references to national politics. He said he thinks he surprises audiences who know him when he jokes about Kim Jong-un.

“I like when an audience can’t guess what I’m going to do,” he said. “I want an audience to relate to me. That’s my style. I want the audience to know the real me and know the comedy comes from the perspective of a real human-being.”

Regan, who said he keeps close tabs at local and national news, laughed at a list Google released in time for the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee and poked fun at Wisconsin, whose most-commonly searched spelling was “Wisconsin.”

In the sixth grade, Regan placed third in his school’s spelling bee. “It was my big claim to fame,” he said. He went down on the word “Heinous,” spelling the it incorrectly, “Hainess” in front of the entire school.  

After appropriately spelling “Wisconsin,” Regan offered some advice to deficient spellers.

“Spell a word wrong in the sixth grade and spell it right for the rest of your life,” he said.

Regan, who is a father to two children, an 18-year-old son and a 13-year-old daughter, said he has no short-term plans of retirement.

“As soon as I can’t bend over and tie my shoes anymore, that’ll be the moment,” he said.

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