Brian Regan, who has been working continuously as a standup comedian since the early 1980s, has, as described by the New York Times in 2015, “been uncool so long that he’s become kind of cool.” A stalwart road comic, he has gained a following across the U.S. and, despite his mainstream appeal and oft-labeled “clean” and “safe” material, he is revered by alternative comics like Marc Maron and Patton Oswalt. While Regan’s material largely addresses the mundane and his apolitical, curse-free act seems on the surface to shoot for the middle, he is a stealth cultural critic. His milieu is the car, the “township,” the protracted customer service interaction. He is not the urban, edgy man with swagger who has perceived control over his destiny but rather the put-upon, ineffectual, middle class, suburban Everyman, slave to corporate America and societal norms. As such, his reactions to the absurdities of modern life provide a specific point of view and commentary on issues such as capitalism (the fantasy of an airline giving away piles of money to passengers), civility (the behavior of a rich driver who bothers only to raise a pinky finger in thanks) and social class (making special accommodations for trailers of “show horses” vs. “dumb old donkeys” on the highway). Playing the bewildered, powerless, confused consumer or citizen, he emphasizes the ubiquitous injustice, incompetence, greed and randomness to which all audiences can relate. Regan is a victim of the systems of government and commerce, but not an outwardly angry one. As Oswalt asks, “How does Brian Regan scorch the earth down to the last blade of grass without muttering so much as a ‘hell’ or ‘damn’?” Where Bill Burr rages about the ignored plight of the American male, Regan counters the system with sarcastic barbs and beleaguered refrains of “I’m trying.” Though similar in societal role – husband, father, avid eater – to Jim Gaffigan, Regan does not whine or complain but uses subtle, nuanced expressions and stunned silence in response to an uncaring, faceless, senseless, monolithic “they.” However, while self-deprecating and humble in his various scenarios, he manages to come off as triumphant after describing, for instance, the humiliation of dealing with lost baggage in the airport or the parking lot of the emergency room. In part this is due to his physicality, as he typically bounces out of an exaggerated, often hunched pose after playing a beaten down man. The juxtaposition of his visceral humanity and intelligence betrays an awareness of his critical position.