It's been decades since a young aspiring comedian named Brian Regan took the stage at an open-mic night in a Fort Lauderdale comedy club. He knew that his debut might be tough, but he never imagined a worst-case scenario like the one that occurred that night.
"I went on and
forgot every single word I memorized," he says in this Q&A published recently in the Houston Chronicle. Having no other option, "I started ad libbing about how I couldn't remember my act, and the
audience started laughing. It was like a bizarre Twilight Zone episode."
The crowd went wild, and so did some of the professional comedians in the building, who praised Regan for what they assumed was a faux-amnesia act.
Regan says he wishes he kept the ad from that night's historic show. After all, the rookie Regan learned an important trick of the trade, even if he later learned that he got fewer laughs when he memorized his act.
"At least I knew I could make them laugh," Regan says. "I just had to remember how." Eventually, he did, and now he's one of the nation's most popular "clean" (i.e. no swearing) comedians.
Unfortunately, Regan's tour won't see him return to his South Florida roots. The closest performance is in Daytona Beach January 30. The video above is from one of Regan's many appearances in the years since his Fort Lauderdale comedy miracle.