The black American comedian has lived in the UK for 20 years. In that time, he informs his audiences that he has never watched a football match or managed to finish a Marmite sandwich.
These may be jokey, incidental details but they help explain why, in the past two decades, Hunter, 46, has become one of the comedy scene’s leading players and a figure of rare authority, with more licence than most to speak his mind.
He has the full measure of what it might take to “fit in”, join the club, but abstains from doing so. He shares with his admired Anglophile compatriot Bill Bryson the privilege of the watchful outsider. Though his material is far more outspoken, there’s a similar wry, wise, almost gentle detachment at work.
He has been lying a bit low since the media storm in a teacup over his liberal use of the “n-word” at the Professional Footballers’ Association awards dinner. He has been taking himself abroad to do TV documentaries, which furnish some entertaining anecdotes (dressing up as a Confederate general for an American Civil War enactment in the South was not such a smart move). He has also been tied up working out how to meet the demands of the Inland Revenue: “My friends say, ‘Reg, what have you been up to?’ ‘Looking for receipts.’”
There are a few topical quips about the American civil rights activist Rachel Dolezal, and the controversy over her self-identification as black. “Instead of talking the talk, she walked the walk!” he exclaims, approvingly, “I wish I could pretend to be white and run Microsoft”. But he mainly plies his personal shtick: reflections on race, sex, even free speech, delivered in that charismatic, laid-back style; his smile broad, his voice ship-wreck deep, his manner old-world courteous.
Reginald performs on Friday 10th June 2016, 8pm at the Barbican Centre, Drogheda.
Tickets available from the Barbican Centre, William Street, Drogheda. Contact 0419807416.