Harris: We welcome back to our guest microphone our old pal, comedian Brian Regan, who is in town this week to do a bunch of shows down at The Improv. Good morning, Brian.

Regan: Good morning. Thanks for having me back on.

Harris: Great to see you again. I saw you on the Letterman show Monday night, I didn’t actually stay up and watch it, I taped it because I knew you were on and you did a nice job there.

Regan: Thank you. I actually was bumped three times from Letterman in a two month period.

Harris: Really?

Regan: Yeah, it’s quite an experience.

Harris: Do they pay you every time you get bumped?

Regan: Yeah, they pay you but you know the money is, well you know, scale or whatever, and it’s kinda hard to trade off…”Well you’re not going to be on national TV but here’s $300. Well, hey, life is good!”

Harris: But you did it, you went in there Monday night and you did a nice job.

Regan: Yeah, thanks man, it was kinda exciting.

Harris: What do you do after you’re on TV, do you have a new TV attitude?

Regan: Well, what I did, I just pal-ed around with Dave all night, you know. He’s like: “Hey, you wanna go out and have some cocktails?” “I always heard you were kinda quiet.” “No, no, no, we’ll go out, we’ll hit the town.” You know it’s weird, everybody asked me that, what he’s like, you know. And I have to say I have no idea. I never met him before or after, he just comes over and he shakes your hand, right after the set, and then he whispers something in your ear.

Harris: What did he whisper in your ear?

Regan: He comes over and he whispers in your ear, “Hey, thanks for wasting my time, the show’s time, the network’s time, what was that all about?”

Harris: So he is as nice as we’ve heard.

Regan: I was like wow, I couldn’t believe it. “You’re making me feel bad Mr. Letterman”. Actually, I notice now that he just whispers, he always whispers, at every guest.

Harris: Something for every guest, yeah.

Regan: And I think it’s just so it will look smoother when they go to commercial. Can you imagine if he and the guest sat there just looking straight ahead for that awkward four seconds. “And we’ll be back!” And then just burrow your eyes right into the TV screen. So he leans over and goes “So I’m fakin’ like I’m talking to you, so you’d better smile”. Oh, okay. “Play along or you ain’t ever gettin’ on again”.

Harris: It’s like that same thing you see on local TV shows where they’re going to a commercial and they’ve just had the wacky story from the “Wacky Reporter” and the anchors pretend to be talking to each other about the reporter, and they’re actually thinking, “Gee, the lighting in here sucks, I look terrible tonight”. It’s that same kind of deal, I’m sure.

Regan: I like when you’re watching the news and they try to make the transition from one news story into the next. How come they don’t think you can handle a new story out of the blue? They gotta make a little lame segue, “Hey, that’s a big lotto jackpot! Speaking of lotto, there was a lot o’ crime in the city today.” Oh, okay I’m right with ya! I’m right on your tail. Thanks for smoothing that out.

Harris: By the way, later we’ll do a Harris Challenge and give some stuff away.

Regan: When you’re giving things away do you do it like on a game show? Where you know at the beginning of game show when contestants tell about themselves, like a little 15 second bio? I notice sometimes that they actually have something kind of interesting to say, and the host never asks them a follow up question. It always kills me. “Contestant number one, tell us about yourself.” “My name is Kirk Edwards. I’m very close to isolating a gene. If I’m successful, I’ll be able to cure every disease known to man.” “All right, that’s great, you ready to spin the wheel? You know to look out for the Bonkers!”

Harris: [laughing] Look out for the “bonkers”!

Regan: “Number two, how ’bout you? “My name is Suzi Wilson, I’m part of a secret, clandestine, manned space mission to the planet Venus.” Okay you don’t want to hear this noise: “whompwow” Contestant number three? “My name is Toby and I got a dog.” Oh really, what kind of dog do you have?”

Harris: Well, Wink…

Regan: You know Mike Wallace, the 60 Minutes guy, he started out years ago, as a game show host.

Harris: I knew he did some weird interview show and some commercials for weird stuff…

Regan: He did a game show, and I can only imagine how fun that was. He probably would grill the contestants, you know, “Contestant number one, tell us about yourself.” “My name is Steve Wilson, I’m from Buffalo, and I like bowling.” “Oh really? Well, we have documents that suggest that you’ve never been bowling!” “[in a scared voice] Well, I would like to go bowling.” “But you’ve never been?” “No, no I haven’t.”

Harris: Oh God, that would be annoying, and at the end of the game show Andy Rooney comes out and gives you a couple of REALLY annoying minutes.

Regan: [in Andy Rooney’s voice] “How come you get a prize, how come you don’t give one? How come there are ten pins? Why not nine or twelve?”

Harris: So you moved out to LA a couple of years ago, don’t they have ads in the newspapers out there, “Game Show Contestants Wanted” in the classifieds?

Regan: No, I didn’t know, really?

Harris: Oh yeah, you look in the classifieds of like the LA Times…come down to, I don’t know what studios, Burbank Studios or whatever it is, and be on a game show. I’m sure there are people who look through there every day and they’re like…”Oh if only Rod Roddy would call out my name and I could come on down!”

Regan: Actually, some friends of mine, this is true, were on Family Feud. And I went with them to the audition and they held this big mass tryout in New York and believe it or not, there are a lot of families that are pretty lame. There were 15 families there and from this audition only two got picked for the show. All they want is enthusiasm, just jump up and down and be excited.

Harris: You don’t have to know how to answer anything…

Regan: Some people would be smart and they would just stand there, you know, “Contestant number two, tell us about yourself, “My name is Bill.” “What do you do Bill?” “Nothin’ really.” “Okay, all right, Bill.”

Harris: You know what that is, on Family Feud you had to have five family members and I know that in some of those families they were stretchin’ for that fifth guy. There were a lot of those guys. “What do mean your brother won’t come? Cousin Bill? Oh, cousin Bill is an idiot! But bring him along anyway.”

Regan: You’re right, because a lot of times in the intro, the fifth one is so obscure, it’s like “I’m John, this is my sister Suzi, this is my brother Fred, and this is my brother’s uncle’s cousin’s nephew, Ralph.”

Harris: Ralph is the one we had to coach ahead of time to do the good-answer thing. “Come on Ralph, it’s good answer!” “Answer good?” “No Ralph, it’s GOOD ANSWER!

Regan: “We just met him this morning.”

Harris: “He cuts our lawn, he’s not really in the family but we needed five.” Now, Brian, you just flew into town yesterday?

Regan: Got back yesterday, yeah. You know, I noticed something. A lot of people make jokes about flight attendants but I truly admire what they do. They’re there primarily for safety.

Harris: It sounds like you’re reading out of the Flight Attendant manual there, “We’re primarily here for your safety.” We’re not just waitresses here pushing carts, we’re here for your SAFETY, damn it!

Regan: Well, it’s true. And they gotta put up with a lot of garbage from people. Have you ever been sitting in your seat, you know, and you see somebody trying to fit something in the overhead rack that you know ain’t going in there in a million years? You know, they’re just trying to stuff this big giant thing. And you’re sittin’ there looking at them like, what kind of perception problem does this guy have? And the flight attendants are so nice they run up and act like it’s close. They’ll run up going, “Oh, gosh, I don’t know if that’s going to get up there. We can check it for you, you moron.” That’s what I would do. I would last nine seconds at that job, I would just run up, “Hey does that look like it’s gonna fit? What the heck is the matter with you, you’ve got this much room, and you’ve got like a dead yak. Hey, hey, you don’t see all these people standing behind you? Oh, oh this is your world, oh, it’s all about YOU! I’m sorry. You let us know when you’re all set.” And the other people who I also feel bad for are the gate agents, because nobody listens to those people. It’s like they aren’t even talking. They try so hard to get that whole boarding thing to go smoothly.

Harris: It ain’t gonna happen.

Regan: Right, it ain’t gonna happen. They’re on the microphone, “Ladies and Gentlemen we’re about to begin boarding if we could ask for your cooperation please stay seated until you row has been called. Please stay seated until your row has been called.” That’s what they say but somehow, by the time it comes out of the speaker, it sounds like, “Everybody up and rush the door! Everybody up and try to squeeze your big fat butts in the small gate door area. Immediately! Hurry up, the plane’s leaving! Moo!”

Harris: And would those of you with the largest luggage please come forward to block the way?

Regan: Well, you know what they gotta do? They need to deal with that differently. I don’t believe in violence, but I believe in sacrifice for the greater good. They need to take care of it. “Ladies and Gentlemen, we’re about to begin boarding. If we could ask for your cooperation please stay seated until your row has been called. BOOM! Oh, you might notice that we had to take this one person out. Everybody come check his boarding pass ladies and gentlemen. Look, his row had not yet been called.” Everybody else goes, “Oh, gosh!” You know, backing off. You wouldn’t have to do it a lot, you’d do it like three times and then the word gets out, “I hear if you don’t listen, they shoot ya, and kill ya.” “Yeah, they had to start doing that.”

Harris: They would definitely remain seated. And I’ll tell you another thing, no tray table would ever come down again if they treated them like that. The one I always felt sorry for were the ones who had to deal with those unruly drunk passengers — usually members of the Kirk Douglas family — like this guy who a couple of years ago defecated on the cart. Do you remember that story? A guy in first class got so drunk, and I don’t remember his name, and he plea bargained his way out of it or something and he can never fly that airline again, which is a HUGE punishment.

Regan: What do you mean, on the cart?

Harris: He defecated on the beverage cart in first class. Now, have you ever flown first class?

Regan: I’ve walked through it. I have no interest in going in there if that’s the kind of behavior they have up there.

Harris: That’s exactly what I’m thinking. The words “first class,” don’t they mean anything anymore? Defecating on the beverage cart? You don’t even deserve coach at that point, you should be in steerage or luggage at that point!

Regan: That’s pretty horrible. I like sitting in the back of the plane but the one thing I hate about being in the back is all the good meals run out. You can hear them coming down the aisle with the meal cart, and by the way, I’m going to watch even more after your story, Paul. You can hear them, and they’re going, “Okay we have steak, lobster, and a cold fish head.” I’m going, “Oh NO! I wonder what I’m gonna get?”

Harris: Great stuff, Brian. Thanks for coming in today.

Regan: Thanks, Paul.

Copyright 1996, Paul Harris.
Transcript by Joe Camarda.