Reginald D Hunter: In The Midst of Crackers | Review by Steve Bennett
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Reginald D Hunter: In The Midst of Crackers

Note: This review is from 2013

Review by Steve Bennett

It sometimes seems as if Reginald D Hunter would be happy to do away with jokes almost altogether, and simply spend an hour spreading his often uncomfortable philosophies – only to crack a solitary gag right at the end of the night, for the glorious release of tension that it brings.

Certainly In The Midst Of Crackers contains some lengthy musings on matters of race, sex and relationships, each section raising difficult questions before we get to the ha-has. Yet he has the precious ability to make this cavernous converted sports hall seem as intimate as a campfire chat, and we lean in to listen intently, mulling his arguments. Even if he does take advantage of that trust by occasionally asking a probing question of us, in that oh-so-polite Southern drawl.

He starts by asking us to pay no heed to some of his language. ‘Faggotry’ has nothing to do with gay men, he insists, and ‘niggers’ is just an all-purpose word he could apply to potato crisps as easily as to humans.

The N-word certainly got him in trouble earlier this year, when he casually dropped it with his usual frequency at a dinner for the Professional Footballers’ Association. Complaints that the word made the set racist, no matter what the content, got him in the headlines, as he discusses here.

Hunter claims he doesn’t like discussing racism ‘especially to white people’ and if he had his way, he’d just talk about anal sex and farting. Still, his audience have certain expectations now, and he address the topic he can’t escape. And in a world where Nadine Dorries can tweet: ‘As I looked over my shoulder, I saw Reginald D Hunter talking to my daughter #wheresmyshotgunman’ it looks like the matter will be on his agenda for a while yet.

Even more seriously, Hunter addressed the case of George Zimmerman, acquitted of the murder of black teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida, and brought the room to a hushed sadness. It’s testament to his comedic skills that he could bring some funnies back after that.

That’s not so say there’s none of his tension in the relationship material, when he confesses to cheating on former girlfriends and admits unassailable truths about his, and every other man’s, fantasy woman. He seems to like pressing his partners’ emotional buttons as much as he likes toying with ours, posing philosophical questions she can easily interpret as being told ‘she’s not special’. He justifies himself intellectually, but he doesn’t come out too sympathetically, even from his own anecdotes.

Hunter seems to have so much to say, so it’s disappointing that he performs a routine about looking at your own asshole which he has been doing on the Fringe for years. It’s a surprisingly smart and memorably piece of stand-up, but something of an old standard for fans.

There’s possibly a metaphor to be had here about the ever-opinionated Hunter disappearing up his own backside; but since he almost always shatters his potential pomposity with a blessed release of laughs, often from something silly, that would be unfair.

Review date: 20 Aug 2013
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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