Downtown Rutland was seeing more activity than it usually did on April 27. Cars pulled up to the jam-packed Paramount Theater to drop off passengers before hunting for parking spots, while others simply drove by, their drivers content to be walking on such a gorgeous night.
A woman in a wheelchair was helped out of a van and entered the theater in the midst of families, loners, and everyone in between. Men in business suits, couples holding hands, groups of girls in sundresses, and what looked like three-generation households meshed together in the lobby, all in the same place for the same reason.
Brian Regan was in town.
Denise Scarborough, a 47-year-old from Brandon Vt., had brought her two teenage sons and husband with her to take advantage of the opportunity to see Regan. “My boys were the first ones to hear him,” Scarborough said. “I’d be working in my office and they would be listening to [Regan] on the internet, and I thought ‘This is pretty good!'”
Of course, every big-name comedy act needs a warm-up comedian, and Joe Bolster rose to the occasion.
After a brief taste of his particular brand of comedy, he stopped to introduce the man of the hour.
“You’ve all seen him many times on David Letterman, but he’s here now in Rutland Vt.” was all that could be heard before the thunderous applause drowned him out.
Regan wound his way through his routine seamlessly, making smooth transitions between jokes. After finishing one story, he stopped to address the audience.
“Did anyone hear that really loud noise during that last joke??”
A few muffled laughs came from the floor level before one woman blurted out, “It’s ten of nine!”
Regan couldn’t help but laugh.
“That explains everything,” he joked. “You see, I live on the West coast, so out there we celebrate ten of six, that’s all.”
He took the ammo and never turned back.
“I know what the first thing I’ll be asking when I get off stage is,” he admitted.
After the hour and 15 minutes of hilarity had come to a close, Regan left the stage to the sound of an even louder ovation. The audience clearly wanted an encore, and he did not disappoint. He returned with an old fan favorite joke, “You Too and Stuff.”
But not before he asked a few questions.
“But really. what was that noise?” he asked somewhat sheepishly. The same woman shouted from the audience, “Curfew!” Another man pointed out that the same noise happens in the morning, at which point Regan looked shocked.
“What do your bumper stickers here say?? ‘Rutland: Strictest City in the World!’?”
When Regan took his final bow, nothing but positive impressions were left.
“It was great,” Scarborough said, clearly not disappointed by her first taste of Regan’s live comedy.
Brent Barnett, a 31-year-old Rutland native who had come to see the show with his girlfriend, also thoroughly enjoyed his first Regan experience.
“It was freakin‘ hilarious,” he said, still laughing.
When asked what his favorite joke was, he laughed even more.
“Definitely the ‘ten-of-nine’ joke.”
Eric Olson, a 15-year-old from Burlington who had come to see the show with his sister and brother-in-law, agreed with Barnett.
“It’s hard to think of a favorite joke right now. I really liked the ‘ten-of-nine’ one though,” he said.
His brother-in-law Jonathan was surprised by Regan’s ability to ad-lib.
“It was really impressive to see him on the fly like that,” he said.
Everyone in the theater that night got to share a completely unique experience with a comedy legend. Regan’s rare ability to bring clean jokes chock-full of hilarious material to an entire family was not lost on anyone in the audience.
As the crowd left the theater and walked out into the warmest night of the year, not one mouth was without a smile.