Brian Regan loves being a comedian for many reasons, not the least of which is the schedule.
"I like the hours - or hour - that I work," he said, with a laugh. "My nickname in college was Rip, for Rip Van Winkle, because I had trouble waking up. Still do.
"I had a 7 a.m. class in college, and I took three cuts the first week. I thought, 'If this is what the world is about, this getting up while it's still dark [to go to work], I won't be able to make it. Then a comedian performed at our school, and his show didn't start until 8 p.m. I thought to myself, 'I can wake up by 8 p.m.'"
Comedian Brian Regan will perform at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena on June 12.
Regan - who comedian Patton Oswalt called "the best stand-up working today," according to Comedy Central's web site - will bring his act to the Cambria County War Memorial Arena in Johnstown on June 12.
His latest comedy album, "All By Myself," was released in December.
The 53-year-old comic got his start as a student at Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio.
If you go
Who: Comedian Brian Regan
When: 7 p.m., June 12
Where: Cambria County War Memorial Arena, Johnstown
Tickets: $38.50 at the arena box office, at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 800-745-3000
"I thought I was going to be an accountant," Regan said. "I took three weeks of accounting, and I thought, 'I don't think I'll be able to handle this.' My football coach recommended a change in my major, so I changed to communications. One of my first classes was a speech class. I always tried to make my speeches funny, and I got hooked."
Despite his initial aspirations toward numbers, Regan always had a jocular inclination, stemming from his childhood. He names his family as his biggest comedic inspiration.
"My mom and dad are very funny," he said. "My dad has a dry sense of humor, and my mom is very silly. I'm from a big family with eight kids, and everybody's funny. It was like a house filled with maniacs."
Early in his career, Regan's material stemmed from that "fun" upbringing.
"When I first started, I had just come out of childhood, so I drew on my childhood memories: playing little league, spelling bees, riding bikes," said the comedian, who now has two children of his own. "Over the years, my act has evolved. I now tell jokes from a different perspective. If you don't move with the times, it isn't natural.
"I worked with a guy once who did a routine about changing his baby's diapers. I told him later that it was a good routine and asked him if he missed his babies while he was on tour. He said, 'They're not babies. One's 16 and one's 18, but it's so funny, I can't drop it from my act.' I don't want to get to that point."
Regan is well-known for having a family-friendly comedy routine, though that's not by design.
"I don't think to myself, 'I want to put an act together that's family-friendly,'" he said. "It was actually a surprise when I found out families liked what I did. Because it's clean, families can sit down and enjoy it, but I even have 25-year-olds coming up and saying they love the fact that I'm clean."
Though Regan has never before performed in Johnstown, a performance last October by ventriloquist and comedian Jeff Dunham revealed an aspiring market for stand-up comedy in the area, according to Michael Silva, the general manager of the War Memorial Arena.
"The War Memorial will put a greater focus on hosting more comedians like Dunham and Brian Regan to meet this demand," Silva said. "It is part of our plan to bring all types of entertainment to this area, which is what our community demands and deserves."
Silva is expecting around 2,000 people to attend Regan's show and to "laugh until they cry."
Regan said that making people laugh is "a thrill."
"I try not to get used to it," he said. "Laughing is a pleasurable experience, and I am glad I can make people laugh. What kills me is that handful of people that have scowls; they're not laughing, and they want you to know they are not laughing. It's like they're saying, 'I don't know about the rest of these people, clown, but I want you to know you're not funny.'
"It's sad, really. I feel like saying, 'I don't care. I've got 99 percent of these people, and that's good enough for me.'"
While the Florida native, who now resides in Las Vegas, has little success devoting time to sitting down and writing new material - "When I sit in front of a blank piece of paper, it is just going to be a blank piece of paper" - he frames his jokes while going through his day-to-day life. But, he said, the best writing takes place on stage in front of a live audience.
"I tape every show," he said. "Sometimes I'll get on stage, trying some bit, but I forgot to put the funny part in it. [At that point], you go into survival mode. Your brain says, 'Say this now.' You say it, and it's tight, it's funny and you have no idea where it came from. I always think, 'I'm so glad I taped that.'"
But Regan has learned to expect anything during a show. At one point, he was performing a bit about watching fishing on television and taping the shows to watch again later.
"At a show, this guy dressed all in flannel walked up on stage," he said. "I was in the middle of some other joke, but he handed me a tape and said, [imitating a low, gruff voice] 'Do that bit.'
"When a guy in flannel hands you a tape and tells you to do a bit, you do that bit!"
Mirror staff writer Cory Dobrowolsky can be reached at 946-7428.