Brian Regan is something of a paradox. A clean-mouthed, Irish-American stand-up balancing self-chastisement and smart, observational mockery on one end and rubbery physical comedy on the other isn’t exactly what you expect to work. But having spent the better part of a quarter-century working in stand-up, Regan has built a kind of caricature of himself that ensnares the cartoony and the intellectual for hilarious outcomes.
He got his start in the early 1980s, having dropped out of Heidelberg College to pursue comedy on the early advice of his football coach. He spent much of the ’80s following his instincts for the absurd and transcendent across the country’s club circuit. By the mid-1990s, Regan was a sizable name in the stand-up world, appearing on television shows for David Letterman, Dennis Miller and others.
Today he continues to work mostly as a touring comic, with a handful of small film and television roles between tours. Among stand-up comics, he’s earned a reputation as one truly dedicated to the craft, and as a family man who often brings his young son and daughter on the road with him.
With 28 appearances on the “Late Show with David Letterman,” Regan is a guy most of the general audience has seen and heard, remembered for his hyperrealism, family-friendly material and distinctive voice.
Regan will perform Thursday at the Performing Arts Center, 5001 Coliseum Drive. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; show starts at 7:30. Tickets are $39.95 online at www.Ticketmaster.com or at the PAC box office. Go to www.NorthCharlestonColiseumPAC.com or call (843) 529-5000 for more information.
In 1975, filmmakers David and Albert Maysles came across the eccentric aunt and cousin of Jackie Kennedy Onassis at their East Hampton estate on New York’s Long Island.
The encounter was marked with layers of social intrigue for the Maysles, as they found “Little Edie” and “Big Edie” Beale intersecting extreme parallels of economic class and social status that rarely come anywhere close to one another. The documentary follows the reclusive mother and daughter as they struggle to maintain their dilapidated, but beloved estate, Grey Gardens.
As the story unfolds, a complicated tale of ostracism and exploitation surfaces to reveal the confining space between helplessness and fantasy many victims of mental illness inhabit.
For some, the film captured a satisfying comedy of the generationally wealthy navigating impoverishment, as Little Edie eloquently pondered her outfits and interior decoration while casually arguing with Big Edie over male suitors, fashion, music, art and their relative expulsion from high society.
For others, the story of the Beales was at once tragic, fascinating and inspiring, depicting Big Edie as an iconoclast more dedicated to her dreams of a singing career than the status-fixated world of her highly privileged upbringing, and Little Edie as a loving daughter who abandoned her ambitions as a model, singer and socialite to care for her.
But for the Maysles themselves, their decision to merely document and stay outside the narrative as much as possible set an important standard for the surging practice of documentary filmmaking at the time.
“Grey Gardens” proved that when real life is more captivating than fiction, keep out of the way and let the film roll.
The film’s premise continues to raise some difficult questions, forcing audiences to reflect on their empathies and biases before ultimately challenging their classist perception of good and evil, fortunate and unfortunate.
It’s in that thought-provoking crevice that the Village Rep Company finds itself carving out a stage production for the documentary’s 40th anniversary.
Directed by Keely Enright and starring Becca Anderson and Kathy Summer, the theater company converts the life of the Beales into a musical dramedy of aristocrats wandering through poverty with relatively unaffected ideals, concerns and lifestyles.
“Grey Gardens” will run from Nov. 19-Dec. 6 at the Woolfe Street Playhouse, 34 Woolfe St.
Tickets are $15-$35 and are available at the box office or online at www.WoolfeStreetPlayhouse.com.
Call (843) 856-1579 or visit the venue’s website for more information.