Reginald D Hunter: In The Midst of Crackers
“Recently, I have been getting in trouble for stuff I have been doing all my life.”
With an opening line like that, you realise immediately that, no matter how much you think you do, you probably don’t know Reginald D Hunter at all.
Since using ‘the n-word’ rather liberally during a recent appearance in front of the Professional Footballers’ Association, the comic from Georgia, in America’s Deep South, has found himself catapulted into the headlines.
Yet, as he is quick to point out here, this tone is nothing new to viewers of the stand-up routine of the man who is perhaps best known for sitting alongside Paul Merton on television’s hugely popular comedy news panel show, Have I Got News For You?
If nothing else, his experience with the PFA has given him some useful material for an opening gambit to his latest show; not that he is apologising or even really explaining himself, often merely pointing out the absurdity of the reaction.
Yet, once he has got past the furore which still rankles him and convinced the audience he is not “the black Bernard Manning” – a description once handed to him by a reviewer which drew a huge laugh from the audience just miles from to the late-comedian’s Manchester home – Hunter really begins to settle into his routine.
Predictably, the “n-word” is a regular visitor throughout a performance which is anything but a cosy night out, as Hunter covers subject matter ranging from racism to blackmail to domestic violence and then back to racism.
The comedian crafts an almost intimate atmosphere using his whisky-smooth charm to silence hecklers and take repeated polls within the audience, and yet still manages to challenge you to think about what he is saying.
So it turns out that the man some members of the footballing community would have you believe is nothing more than a black man obsessed with his slang terms for his ethnicity, is much more than just Paul Merton’s wing man.
It turns out Reginald D Hunter is a guy worth getting to know a little.
by David Coates