August 23, 2017

Patton Oswalt, One.

I don't know if you're planning on watching Brian Regan's new Comedy Central special this Saturday -- the first LIVE special they've ever broadcast. I don't know if you're a Brian Regan fan. I don't know if you even know who he is.

But I can tell you something with 100% accuracy. But before I do, let me ask -- do you have a favorite comedian? Bill Burr? Chris Rock? Sarah Silverman? Jim Gaffigan? Louis CK? Maria Bamford? Dave Attell? Dave Chappelle?

Whoever tops your list, I GUARANTEE YOU they will be watching -- or will watch, the next morning, or first thing late Saturday night when they get back from wherever they're performing -- Brian Regan's special. He is our never-fail ideal of what a stand-up performer can be. I have never -- EVER -- met another stand-up that doesn't do a low whistle of awe and respect (and envy) whenever his name comes up.

Todd Glass and Jimmy Dore told me when they went to see Brian at the Wiltern they ended up punching each other from sheer joy. I've seen him four times in clubs and three of those four times I've had to scoot back into the kitchen and STOP LISTENING TO HIS ACT because I was laughing so hard I thought I was going to throw up. The only other time that's happened was when Brian Posehn and I went to see Dave Attell at the Punchline in San Francisco. We both had to LEAVE THE CLUB AND STOP LISTENING because it literally got too funny. It was too much. We stood outside, laughing but looking panicked because neither of us could get back enough air.

No true comedian puts any thought into the "clean comedy/dirty comedy" debate because the existence of Brian Regan and Dave Attell renders it moot.

Dave Attell has a genius, sewer brain connected to a poetic leaf blower of a mouth and every joke he tells is an un-defendable uppercut of brilliance. I've never told him this, but one time, back in the 90s, I did a show at a Santa Monica open mike/poetry spot called The Creativity Bookstore. A very earnest, very self-righteous, easily outraged young comic/poetess had just come from a Dave Attell show at the Improv. She stomped onstage, opened her Moleskine notebook, and proceeded to read "some of the bullshit misogynist crap" from Dave's act, confident the audience would join her in a cathartic, sputtering "I can't even."

And she KILLED with it. Even through her barking, nasal, condescending delivery, the profane brilliance of Attell's material was undeniable. It was one of the most painful, surreal things I'd ever witnessed. She ended up berating the crowd, snapped the notebook shut, and did her own material. Which died like old man cum on an August afternoon.

Brian's act doesn't even have a profane CONCEPT, let alone anything within binocular distance of a profanity. And it destroys just as devastatingly as Attell's. It's an ongoing source of wonderment in our twisted little tribe -- how does Attell generate such goodwill and belly laughs with material that lesser comedians would be mob-pummelled for? And how does Brian Regan scorch the earth down to the last blade of grass without muttering so much as a "hell" or "damn"?

Because they are both superhumanly funny. In the end, funny cuts through every rift and difference and ism and argument.

I don't know what your plans are this Saturday. But I know what your favorite comedian's plans are.

Posted by dean at 09:08 PM

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