For a man accused, variously, of 'offensiveness, misogyny and violence', Reginald D Hunter is, in person, invariably polite, with the manners of a Deep Southern gentleman, lots of authentic but disarming ‘ma’ams’ thrown in for good measure.
His stand-up DVD, ‘In the Midst of Crackers’ is purely, he explains, the fruits of “just travelling, listening to people, hearing what really irks them”.
The content is, then, not your run-of-the-mill dinner party chatter. “Immigration, rape, gender rights,” he gives as examples. “It’s not a matter of taste any more. There are two types of people, those who like to solve problems, and those who just like to have them.”
This sounds like something of a moral crusade – is this the obligation of a comedian in this day and age? He says not…
“It’s by no means a condition of stand-up. But it is an obligation I have accepted,” he finishes cheerfully.
And also a pleasure?
“When it goes well, when you say something that surprises yourself. It goes with unpleasantness when you’re by yourself a lot,” he reflects. “It’s like life, good and bad.”
As for when it goes less well… well, for Hunter’s altercation with one Jo Cooper following a gig in Aberystwyth only two months ago, you can read the full back-and-forth that followed on the comedian’s own Facebook page. “It’s all there,” he tells me.
This wasn’t the most surprising fracas he’s found himself in, though. That accolade must go to his strange evening in front of the Professional Footballers’ Association earlier in the year, when he offered to refund his fee if asked, following rumblings over his use of the ‘N’ word.
“I never think anything I say is controversial until afterwards,” he says today. “That night, I realised one third of the room were white oligarchs who run football, not laughing. Another third of the room wanted to laugh, but they wanted the approval of the white oligarchs, so they didn’t. And the final third, well, they were absolutely pissing themselves, so I just pointed the rest of my routine in that direction.”
It seems incongruous, hearing about such epic confrontations, recounted and analysed in such polite, articulate tones. I wonder, does Mr Hunter worry about upsetting people when he speaks?
“Systems are my target,” he explains. “On and off stage, I have great concerns about upsetting people, I spend a great deal of time working out what I want to say, and how. So by the time I get on stage I not only have the right to say what I feel but, if someone takes offence… to kick their ass.”
Reginald D Hunter's live stand up DVD 'In The Midst of Crackers' is out now, available from Amazon, priced £10.00. Watch him in action in our clip below...