“Do Pop-Tarts!” 

Through sold-out shows and fans who know every punch line, Brian Regan stays humble.

If you missed comedian Brian Regan’s performance at Kingsbury Hall on Dec. 7, fear not. He’s coming back this week. But you’d better already have your tickets in hand, because all three nights are sold out, and scalpers are charging (and getting) up to $100 per ticket. Regan is as surprised as anybody about that.

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“It started with just the one day in December, and then my manager told me how quickly it sold out,” recalls the comedian in a phone interview. “So, we added Jan. 6. Then that sold out! Then we added [the 4th and 5th]. I had no idea I had so many fans in Salt Lake City.nn

Well, now he knows. His performance in December was met with such enthusiasm that when he walked out on stage, he said, “I already felt like I’d hit a home run. It was amazing.nn

His hour-long routine consisted exclusively of material he’d put together within the last three years, but he kept his light-hearted, zany observational style that his devoted fans have come to know and love. The words, “That’s so true” became a mantra uttered by many audience members throughout the performance. People could be heard repeating his jokes as they were walking to their cars after the show, as if he had told the joke just for them. Regan’s ability to connect with just about anyone has become a key to his appeal.

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Though most of the material is relatively recent, loyal Regan fans'who have long since memorized his classic bits'can take some comfort. He does wrap up the show with an encore of classic jokes, mainly guided by whatever topic the audience members shout out. During his December performance, it was things like Pop-Tarts and launching your bike off a homemade ramp as a kid. As soon as Regan would start to tell a classic joke, the audience would erupt with cheers and whistles, forcing him to pause midsentence. The echoes of punch lines could be heard all throughout the theater from fans who knew every line.

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“I have learned to play both sides of the crowd,” Regan states. “On one hand, I’m an artist, and I want to continue to grow and change. At the same time, I know my fans are very familiar with my older material, and want to hear it. Doing the classic bits during the encore allows me to have the transition I need.nn

At one point during the performance, Regan started to mention golf and forgot if he had already talked about it that night. So he looked out at the audience and asked them. His honesty about forgetting if he had already told a joke made for a genuine connection with the crowd. After that, there was no joke he could tell that wouldn’t kill. Laughter never ceased until Regan said, “Good night.” when it was replaced by a thunderous applause and a standing ovation.

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“The audience can tell when you’re being fake, and I wasn’t,” Regan says. “I honestly forgot if I had mentioned golf, and I guess I don’t know how to ask that stuff to myself without saying it out loud. But it’s human, and it’s real, and you have to have fun with it.nn

Regan’s opening act at Kingsbury Hall, Joe Bolster, knows how connect with an audience as well. He’s clean and silly, and he tells jokes about everyday events that audiences can appreciate. He had a moment with the crowd when he had to stop his act due to the roaring laugh of one man. Just like Regan, Bolster managed to take control of the audience at that point, and at the end of his performance, he received enthusiastic cheers and applause.

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“I have five guys I tour with,” Regan says. “They’re all headliners themselves, so they don’t have to just open for me the whole tour. I’m friends with them, and they’re all appropriate fits for my style of comedy.nn

Regan’s “You Too” tour'named for one of his most recognized jokes, about people replying, “You, too” at moments when it really doesn’t fit'has been going strong for almost a year, with performances already scheduled months out from now as well. If you are one of the lucky ones who got a ticket to one of this week’s shows, you may get the opportunity to hear your favorite classic joke. Just don’t shout out your request until the encore, and make sure you can be heard above the fanatic echoing Regan’s “i before e” routine.

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BRIAN REGAN
nKingsbury Hall
n1395 E. Presidents Circle
nU of U
nJanuary 4-6
n7 p.m.
n581-7100

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Jennifer Heaney

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