Harris: We welcome back to our guest microphone comedian Brian Regan, who we last saw in November, when he was in town as one of the performers for The Paul Harris Comedy Concert For Children’s Hospital. Brian is back to do two weeks at The Improv. Good morning, Brian.

Regan: Good morning! How are you guys?

Harris: Fine, great to see you again. You’re looking like a very healthy specimen this morning.

Regan: Well, that’s very kind of you. I have to start watching what I eat and all that sort of thing.

Harris: Why is that?

Regan: Well, cholesterenarol…cholesterol and all that. I can’t even say the word I’m so flustered.. chlem-blah-blah-aaah

Harris: Couldn’t get that cholesterenarol…

Regan: See, cholesterol is one thing. Cholesterenarol, that’s a whole other problem. Those readings are off the chart for me. That’s what scared me – you’re cholesterol is fine, it’s the chelesta-na- na.

Harris: Did you go to a doctor and get a physical, and then things started going downhill?

Regan: Well, actually, you know, it had been about five years and then I went back. And the cholesterol has gone up so…I don’t know about you, but that’s the only time I ever feel like a kid, when I go to the doctor’s. The only time, as an adult, I feel like a kid, because he’s like, “You didn’t do what I told you, did you?” “No, I didn’t.” “And you should have.” “I know I should’ve, but I wasn’t listening!” “What should you have done?” “I should have paid attention to you when you were talking but I wasn’t.” “And you will from now on?” “Yes, I will.”

Harris: And that lasts until you walk out of the doctor’s office. “What the hell did he tell me? Oh, who cares?”

Regan: And you’re thinking, don’t I pay him? Wait a second! But he’s right, so, I have to read…he wants me to read food labels. Well, he wants me to do more than that, he wants me to eat the good stuff.

Harris: That would be the greatest diet ever! I just read the labels and lose weight!

Regan: Eat all the donuts you want, but just read healthy food labels while you’re doing it.

Harris: So what did he put you on? What kind of stuff did he recommend?

Regan: He just wants the low fat, the low calorie and all that sort of thing. I have no idea what you can eat and what you can’t eat. I have no idea. And I’ve always liked Fig Newtons, and is that a health thing or is that not a health thing? So I’m in the store, looking at Fig Newtons, and I’m reading everything and everything looked like, wow, I can eat this! Then I looked at the serving size: two cookies. I mean, come on, who eats two cookies? I eat Fig Newtons by the sleeve!

Harris: Yeah, me too.

Regan: Two sleeves is a serving size. I open them both and eat them like a tree chipper. [makes tree chipper noises] All right, they’re gone, now what?

Harris: And the thing about Fig Newtons is that you look at it and think, “Well, it’s got fruit in it and fruit is good for me!”

Regan: Exactly! The fruit, the fiber, whatever. You’ve just got to keep it down to two. I’ve always eaten poorly. The Chef Boyardee stuff, you know, they’ve got it in the can there for you, nice and convenient. I’ve always gone for it. I’ll eat the Chef Boyardee. They’ve got the spaghetti and they’ve got the lasagna, they’ve got the ravioli. But some of the stuff I haven’t seen in the real Italian food world. I’ve never been in a nice Italian restaurant and said, “How you doing? Let’s start with a nice bottle of Chianti, maybe a couple of Caesar salads, and um…I think I’m going to have the Beef-a-roni. Maybe some Spaghetti-Os for the lady.”

Harris: Spaghetti-Os!

Regan: Slice up the franks, nice, and make a little happy face for her.

Harris: That is good eating. So, you’ve got to watch what you’re eating?

Regan: I’ve been travelling a lot, so it’s not that easy. One thing that I have noticed is that people refer to food differently across the country. When I started college, I grew up in Miami, Florida, I went to college in Ohio. My roommate freshman year was from New Jersey. I’d never met the guy. First night in the dorm — this is the absolute truth — he goes, “Hey, you wanna go halves on a pie?” And he meant pizza, but I’d never ever heard that put like that. I thought that he wanted to get a pie. And I’m like, “I don’t know, you want to get a pie?” “Yeah, yeah, I figured we’d go halves on a pie to celebrate. Get a pie.” “Well, hey, I hadn’t really thought about that. I hadn’t really thought about getting a pie. What are you, Little Jack Horner?” So I wanted to be open minded, it was my first day in college. “Okay, let’s go halves on a pie.” So we got half pepperoni and half blueberry. I wasn’t sure what this guy…

Harris: I don’t know, that deep dish blueberry is awfully good.

Regan: They do do something like that, don’t they? I don’t know. I just like sticking with donuts, man. You know what? You go into these donut places and I feel so bad for the ladies because people can’t make up their minds. I don’t know what it is about buying donuts, but people freak out. They go in there, “Okay…okay…I need a dozen donuts…all right…oh man…you have a lot of donuts…I’m gonna start with four chocolate, I want two twisty-goos, I want a lemon twitter, I want a honey whirl…NO! Two honey whirls, I want a raspberry double puff…NO! I want a half twitter and a raspberry curl and I want two chocolate…NO! NO! One! One! Put it back! I want a Bavarian apple crunch. I want a crunch! Get the ladder!” Hey, hey, why don’t you go outside and think it over, huh? It’s a big decision. You can’t blow donut day.

Harris: I love going into any food store where they have to use a ladder to get my products. That’s gonna be good eatin’.

Regan: Well, you know what? They get back at you. What they do is they do the subtraction for you in front of all the other customers and make you look stupid. “Yeah, I’d like, um, a dozen donuts. I’m going to start off with seven chocolate.” “You have five left.” “Ooooh…all right, if I order one more, then how many will I have left? How many would I have left then, donut lady? That’s what I need to know!” I don’t know how she does it.

Harris: With that quick math she’s like HAL behind that counter.

Regan: I think that’s how she does it.

Harris: Since the last time he was here, Brian has done…what, were you on the Conan O’Brien show in January and the Letterman show in February?

Regan: Yeah, yeah, things are going okay. I’m actually trying to branch out into different things besides standup. You guys watch CNN, right?

Harris: Sure.

Regan: You know right when it starts and you hear that “This is CNN”?

Harris: Mmm-hmm.

Regan: That’s James Earl Jones. Some people know that, some people don’t. But he did a real good job. I was up for that.

Harris: Were you?

Regan: Yeah, I’m trying to do voiceover work. And it came down to he and I. We were the last two in the final callback. And I remember, we were both sitting out in the waiting room, and I was really nervous, you know. And I’m like, oh man, I hope I get it. And he was like, “I hope I get it.” And then I’m like, you know, it’s like 50-50. So then they come out, and they said, “James, come on in.” And you’re not supposed to hear the other people do their audition, you know. But I could hear, and I could hear his, and I could hear him going, “This…is CNN.” And I’m like, oh man, that was really good. That was a really good take on it because I hadn’t really seen it that way. So he walks out, and I’m like, “Hey, good luck!” But of course you don’t want him to get it.

Harris: You were just being nice.

Regan: Right. So I go in and they’re like, “Go when you’re ready” and I wasn’t that familiar with the copy, and I’m looking at it and I’m nervous because James had done a really good job, and I’m like, “Okay, um, this is…this is…this is C…this is C…N…and then there’s another N. This is C and two N’s. There’s two N’s and then a C. There’s a C and then the two N’s. The C and then the N’s. That’s what it is. That’s what it is.”

Harris: I see what you mean by a different take on the copy, a different read.

Regan: And I walked out and I had my fingers crossed, and I was like, “At least I did what I wanted to do.” That’s all you can do. You do what you want to do and then it’s up to them. And, it ended up, I guess they gave him the nod.

Harris: Yeah, well you gave it a shot and that’s what’s important. You can always tell people that you were this close.

Regan: That’s right. I tried, I tried.

Copyright 1997, Paul Harris.
Transcript by Danny Guzman.