With three Perrier Award nominations under his belt, and countless appearances on the biggest comedy panel shows in the country to his name, there aren’t many better decorated comedians than Reginald D Hunter working in Britain right now.
Touring his new show, Some People vs Reginald D Hunter, the American stand-up will be in Huddersfield this coming Friday (26th May) at the Lawrence Batley Theatre, so The Examiner caught up with the 2006 Writers Guild Award for Comedy winner, to see what he has in store.
Examiner: Reginald, we're looking forward to having you in Huddersfield - can you give us an idea of what the show is about, at all?
Reginald: "It's about the exaggerated anger of our times - it's very topical, I'd say"
E: You've dabbled in some more asburdist comedy in the past, will this be much the same?
R: "Well, we've got an absurdist in the White House"
E: How did you react to the Trump election? Was there a part of you who was almost pleased because of all the material you might get out of it?
R: "I think a lot of comics eventually got to that point, but, for the first few weeks after Trump got elected I felt depressed. I felt like, for the past seventeen/eighteen years, I've been doing my part to help make sure nothing like this would ever happen again, so I felt like an utter failure"
E: Is that the focus of the show, then?
R: "It's not just about Trump - it's about everything else that comes with it. There's been a spike in anti-everything. Anti-black, anti-gay, anti-women, anti-trans, I just thought we'd covered these things already. There's a part of me as a comedian that's like, 'I thought I told you people about this years ago, and you're still doing this?'"
E: Doesn't a lot of this predate the last Presidential election?
R: "Every since George Bush Jnr was in office, it just feels like time is going backwards, we're regressing, getting dumber and more racist. Listening to the far-right wing now, calling everybody 'libtards' and 'snowflakes', it's like, they've gone so far right - and continue to do so - that everybody to the left of them looks like a Marxist now"
E: The tour is called 'Some People vs Reginald D Hunter' - what was the inspiration behind that?
R: "It's a bit of an ode to the 1994 OJ Simpson trial, but I try to keep the joke quotion up"
E: This tour has been billed as a bit of a comeback for you after taking some time away from the stage - why was that?
R: "Well, don't call it a comeback - I've been here for years. I've pretty much worked like seventeen years straight, so I needed to spend some time actively un-messing my life up.
E: You're performing all over the country, but Yorkshire audiences tend to be a bit different. Is the infamous north/south divide something you're aware of?
R: "I've said it before, but I have a whole lot more fun up north. That's not to say I don't have fun down south - in London - but they seem to come more to judge. A bit like, 'I've heard he's funny well, make me laugh' or 'I've heard he's supposed to be shocking well, go ahead and shock me'"
E: While some comics have started playing large arena shows, you've stuck to playing smaller venues, but doing more of them. Why is that?
R: If I'm talking about some serious stuff, or I'm performing some sort of high wire taking a chance kind of stuff, then I prefer being in smaller rooms. Intimate rooms are better for intimate jokes. If you're doing big arenas, you have to play big all the time, which can be tiring.
E: What do you make of the state of stand-up comedy right now?
R: Generally speaking, I'm not seeing comedians coming down on the side of anything right now. It's like nobody quite knows what to say, because you can say the lightest of things, but by the end of the day you can have people crashing down on you. Stand-up I've seen over the past year has seemed to have been a little gunshy, doing some fairly inocuous material - it's almost like they're unsure.
Reginald D Hunter brings his new tour, Some People vs Reginald D Hunter, to the Lawrence Batley Theatre this Friday, 26th of May.