“On the Rocks” is a lacking comedy stand up

By Grace Rodriguez

COOL UNCLE—Comedian Brian Regan takes the stage in his new Netflix comedy special discussing mental health.

Brian Regan’s comedy special, “On the Rocks” seems to be an allusion to what someone would order at a bar – nothing new or exciting. Unfortunately, this would also perfectly describe this comedy special. 

The special is everything the title suggests, a stand up comedy show featuring a laid back older gentleman named Brian Regan. 

The opening is scenery of what appears to be the Grand Canyon, with a punk rock track playing in the background. It sets the mood and foreshadows Brian Regan’s appearance, but can be misleading as his style of comedy is starkly mundane. Automatically acknowledging his appearance and age in a comedic fashion, he addresses what’s on everybody’s mind.

He is the antithesis of what you would expect a stand up comic to be, that is, young and eccentric. But, his first jokes do loosen up his audience well. After the beginning though, there is not much substance.

With a style that is all too familiar, he tends to mimic Jim Carey’s absurd faces and is easily comparable to Jim Gaffigan. But, unlike Jim Gaffigan, not all his jokes land well. He is better suited for a more mature audience, not because his comedy is vulgar, but, because the content does not seem relatable to anyone under the age of 25.

His fashion choice comes off as a cool uncle who is clearly going through some things, as does his comedy. White hair, black leather jacket and brown dress-up shoes show a fashionable side, but are also a stark contrast to his age. Although, he does make it look purposeful and also seems to definitely be self aware. Thus, Regan is likable and is clearly comfortable performing, all things expected from a stand up comic. 

He touches on his OCD and social anxiety, and does a good job at making these jokes relatable and funny. However, it also brings to light the fact that he is at his funniest when he talks about real stories. That is not to say other comedians only use real stories, but Regan’s punchlines are not as hard hitting in his made up scenarios.

Regan resorts to a weird “Dumb and Dumber” sort of talking a lot, and it comes off as a bit over the top. He talks about the many things he dislikes and is able to make them somewhat relatable. His cynical personality comes out in his comedy and it actually works for him. If he took the time to channel his energy into mastering and balancing this schtick, it could have helped him land a few more jokes.

All things considered, his love for words is apparent. The jokes are often well written and his play on words show he is more than comfortable criticizing and celebrating language. But again, he lacks a wide range of emotions and impersonations – this automatically is a negative trait for any comic. 

There are not any new or controversial ideas in the show and it was rated G for General Audiences. The rating is not surprising, except for the fact that this is not what comedy enthusiasts expect of a comedy show, as the norm for comedy is to challenge ideas, even go as far as making people uncomfortable for the sake of having substance. But, this would probably explain why it was taken on by Netflix.

The special was directed by Troy Miller. And at 58 minutes long, viewers might expect a condensed superb hour full of fun, but they get the exact opposite. This show should not have been longer than 15 minutes. 

Overall, Brian Regan is definitely funny, but his style of comedy seems to better suit him as a comedy writer as opposed to a stand up comic. The title is fitting for what the show is. However, for the younger generation, Brian Regan would most likely not be at the top of their lists. 

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