Reginald D Hunter: No Country For Grown Men

Note: This review is from 2008

Review by Steve Bennett

One of the best reactions Reginald D Hunter received in this show was for another comic’s joke.

Towards the end of the hour, he retold, with full credit, a gag from an acquaintance in the States that helped him illustrate a point, and it drew one of the night’s biggest laughs. Possibly because it was a simple joke, with none of the philosophising that surrounds all Hunter’s work.

In some respects, the provocative comic is in the same league as shock-comics like Jim Jeffries, cracking supposedly unsayable gags about rape or Josef Fritzl – although I’m starting to think people wouldn’t say the unsayable quite so often, it’s becoming so ubiquitous.

However, while Jeffries and his ilk have no pretence about going for out-and-out offence, Hunter constructs elaborate arguments to lead us to his point. So the joke has a mountain of logic piled up behind it, making it supposedly weightier. It isn’t really, it’s the same joke, although the sudden switch from deadly-serious argument to controversial joke solution certainly adds extra punch.

Hunter has that chilled, spellbinding, assured delivery, of course, that gives him huge latitude to advance a line of reasoning. There is insight here, but also phoney arguments you could drive a coach and horses through, just to get him to the gag he wants. By some reckoning, it shouldn’t matter – this is only a comedy set-up and who cares if an Englishman, Irishman and Scotsman really did walk into a bar – but when you’re being presented as a thoughtful comic, your case needs to be more watertight than Hunter’s often are.

To be fair he does protest that he’s not wise, just indifferent, and the two are often confused. That’s probably one of the truest pronouncements of the night.

Hunter's main theme is that men have become emasculated because of so many petty rules regarding what they can and can’t do. You almost expect him to utter the phrase: ‘It’s political correctness gone mad!’ Still, that train of thought proves fruitful, with a take against the nanny health-and-safety state that manages to be strident without him turning into Littejohn. There’s a great gag about Batman, and a couple of shock-lines that really get a strong reaction.

These jokes are good, but the rate’s slow, with so much time spent on expounding his opinions, which aren’t always compelling enough to deserve such a big chunk of proceedings.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

Review date: 1 Jan 2008
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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