I first saw Brian Regan during some promo reels they used to run before the movie trailers at Los Angeles cinemas in the late 1990s. There was some sort of loose tie-in or affiliation with AMC Theaters, if I’m not mistaken, and the self-effacing bit with Regan showed him purchasing a ticket and concessions, then, when told to enjoy the show, saying, “Yeah, you too.” He then caught his gaffe, and proceeded to berate himself, up and down the dial, as “the guy who doesn’t know when to use the phrase ‘You too.'” It’s a credit to Regan’s offbeat energy and goofy charisma that, despite seeing this bit probably a couple dozen times, I never really tired of it, or winced when it started up.
Filmed during his most recent tour, Brian Regan: The Epitome of Hyperbole showcases the comedian — who could be played by Will Ferrell were there ever a need for a biopic — fully in his comfort zone, in front of a crowd. He starts out talking about taking up speed reading, and the resultant plunge in his reading comprehension. In fact, a good bit of Regan’s show is about education, or the dumbing down of America. (“If reading is supposed to make you smarter,” he opines during one joke, “why do they put the book’s title on the bottom of all the pages?”) In another long run, he assays long sentences (especially in reporting, and newspapers), and how he likes to deconstruct them. In scattershot fashion, Regan also touches on Russell Crowe, criminalizing loitering and the decertification of Pluto as a planet, as well as failed and/or bad ideas for theme park movie rides.
Prowling about like a cat, Regan has a stage presence at once goofy and stalking. He tends to extend titters into bigger laughs with lots of physical pantomiming, but because it’s consistent throughout his set it comes across a lot less as milking time and material and more something that’s built in, and interwoven into the fiber of his act. Regan’s humor is neither particularly dirty nor topical, so it’s definitely something that has some replay value, and can be enjoyed by a fairly broad age range. His observational stuff is pretty solid, but a decent portion of the connection here comes from his affable demeanor and indefatigable insistence at inserting himself into various situations, often as the butt of the joke.
Housed in a regular Amray plastic case with snap-shut hinges and a deep-set tray, Brian Regan: The Epitome of Hyperbole comes presented in 1.85:1 widescreen, with a choice of 5.1 and 2.0 Dolby digital soundtrack options that each more than adequately capture the relatively meager aural demands of this title. The feature presentation runs about 42 minutes, and there are also two bonus featurettes — a four-minute selection of encore material where Regan fields joke requests from fans in the audience, and a 14-minute backstage segment which is partially about Regan’s act but mostly about the logistics of putting the show together. B (Show) B- (Disc)