Another Work From a Pro
Though I'm not the world's biggest fan of comedian Brian Regan, I have to admit that I really respect him. He's been doing comedy for a quarter of a century, building a career from the bottom up. More than that, he's become one of the biggest names in stand-up just for doing stand-up. He's never had a sitcom or a "best friend" part in a movie or commented on pop culture for VH1. He's a pure stand-up, totally devoted to the art form. That's he's built such a huge following -- from casual fans to other stand-ups -- is a testament to his talent and professionalism.
So I wouldn't say that Regan's not funny; I'm just not sure he's for me. That's the feeling that nagged at me throughout his latest stand-up special (first aired on Comedy Central; now available on DVD) The Epitome of Hyperbole. Regan does what he always does during his one-hour Epitome set: he takes common occurrences and everyday observations and stretches them to the breaking point. He covers topics from modern art (which he says he'll claim to like and then immediately wish he could take it back) to his disinterest in reading to the planned kidnapping of Russell Crowe, all with his trademark energy and offbeat perspective. Regan begins with a mundane premise and pushes it past the point of absurdity until it barely resembles the point of origin. It's what he does best.
Comedy is Subjective
I guess the best thing I can say about The Epitome of Hyperbole -- and about Regan in general -- is that it still feels spontaneous and improvisatory even though it's been constructed and delivered with laser-like precision. It goes back to Regan's professionalism; he's able to make the material feel unrehearsed in a way that many other, perhaps even better (George Carlin, for example) never did.
Those are all the nice things I can say about The Epitome of Hyperbole. Regan has plenty of fans and supporters, and this newest special shouldn't disappoint them -- it's at least as strong as many of his past efforts. But the problem with the task of reviewing comedy is that it's entirely subjective; what strikes one person as funny won't have the same effect on another, and it's nearly impossible to explain or defend the reasons why. In that respect, I can't say that The Epitome of Hyperbole isn't funny. I can only say it isn't necessarily for me.