FAIRFIELD — Dennis Regan threw luggage, waited tables and ran his own business. He left all that behind in his early 30s to follow his younger brother into comedy.
“I reached a point in my life where I wanted to do things I was afraid of,” Regan said. “Stand-up comedy was one of those things.”
He went to an open mic night and said the fit was right. So was the time.
There are advantages and disadvantages to entering the business at the age he did, Regan said.
He said he had more confidence and more life experiences to draw from than people in their 20s. On the flip side, he missed the heyday of comedy. Then again, he said, there was a real party aspect to comedy in those days and missing out on that was a good thing.
“There are a lot of young guys starting now,” Regan said. “If you’re 22, what do you have to talk about? You don’t have a job and you’re a loser?”
Regan said he and his comedic brother have a similar sense of humor. That’s understandable, he said, having grown up in a funny family that included eight children.
“I’m the smartest,” Regan said in jest when asked where he fit in the birth order. He’s actually the third oldest.
Being in that older group earned him the right to tell his younger siblings there was an older brother named Joe who they had never met. He had moved to Hawaii before the youngest were born. There was, of course, no older brother Joe.
“I’m not sure they really believed us,” Regan said. “We played off the age difference (between the oldest and youngest).”
Regan said his style of comedy is more low-key than his brother’s. His brother is more animated on stage, Regan said.
Stupid criminals bring a smile and some chuckles to Regan. So does the comedy of Jerry Seinfeld, the late George Carlin and Richard Pryor.
His dream comedy show would be a headlining gig in a venue that seats between 1,500 and 2,000. An opener, of his choosing, would do about 15 minutes. The audience members would be those who came to see him, not just comedy.
It would be great to have the following that earns a gig in something the size of Madison Square Garden. But such a large place is not the optimum setting for comedy, he said.
“You have to wait for the gaffs to come from different areas,” Regan said. “It screws up the timing. It’s like driving a bus as opposed to a sports car.”
An iPad is a constant on-the-road companion. A history buff, Regan loves podcasts such as “Stuff You Missed in History Class” and “A History of the World in 100 Objects.”
Regan keeps his act clean, but thinks that may scare some people away. They may be under the impression his routine is a little soft. That’s not the case, he said.
“I have a lot of bite in my comedy,” he said. “I ask a little of my audience. I don’t hit them over the head with fart, bathroom and sex jokes.”
He’s made numerous appearances on the “Late Show with David Letterman” and “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” Regan has also been featured on Showtime and Comedy Central. Now, it’s Vallejo’s turn.
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.