Review: Reginald D Hunter - saved by the warm-up act

IF YOU see Reginald D Hunter on TV quizcoms - he’s a regular on Have I Got News for You - you see a funny guy, a man with a sharp wit.

In a rich Georgia drawl he dispenses well-observed lines, laced with just a little bafflement. He plays the American bemused by British ways very well.

To see him live, though, is a different thing, at least on last night’s evidence. He has been on tour since February, interspersed with TV dates, and with only a few days of this marathon left he seemed a little weary.

He looked almost reluctant to come out at the start, appearing at the edge of the stage as if hoping we’d given up waiting and gone home so he didn’t have to do it all again.

Even so he began brightly enough with an interesting discourse on marriage and what you can get away with if your spouse is pointless; a raft of celebrities found themselves in the crosshairs there.

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He moved through the difference between male and female approaches to arguments, slavery (who here hasn’t thought at least sometimes that they could use a slave?) and race.

This last he handled with the sureness of touch that you might expect from a black man from the Deep South, both funny and pointed.

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All the time, however, he was making increasingly frequent trips to his table to refresh himself, a glass in each hand at times.

Whether it was just water or something more potent you couldn’t tell for certain at a distance but the more of it he drank, the weaker the show became. He completely lost his train of thought a couple of times and set off on a long ramble about a Sex and the City DVD he’d watched with his co-comic Steve Hughes before ending on something of a low note.

He did mumble something half-apologetic before heading off leaving, I suspect, some paying customers feeling a bit short-changed.

What saved the evening, though, was Hughes’ own act. The Anglo-Australian did a long set (not much less than Mr Hunter’s) which was, for my money, at least as good.

Having won the audience early on with some nice work around ‘elf and safety and the absurdities of political correctness he delivered a sweet condemnation of X-Factor fans. Perhaps he should have been the headliner.

Dominic Castle

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