Racism, rape, feminism, sexism, and homosexuality jokes are all part of what make the show full of the kind of belly laughs that bring tears to my eyes and leave my stomach hurting. It is not that any of these concepts are particularly funny, they are not, but the sad fact is that it sometimes feels as if we live in a world where a man could be accused of being a mysogynist pig for saying his wife is good at cooking dinner. And so, by exploring these topics as part of a comedy show, Mr Hunter is, to me and many of his fans, a freedom fighter in the war against the terrorism of political correctness.
I arrived at the show with my camera, half expecting security to relieve me of it or pass some comment but they don’t, so I figure I’m good to take a few non-flash shots.
Canadian Mr Glenn Wool is the warm-up act and I use his show to make sure my camera settings are primed for Mr Reginald D. Hunter. I feel slightly ashamed for taking pictures of the former rather than giving complete attention to his jokes which had me laughing my socks off and accidentally spilling my beer, that I hadn’t taken a mouthful of, all over the floor.
One of his jokes explored cultural differences between Ireland and Canada. It involved the Irish attitude versus the Canadian attitude to the word c**t. Another is about what happens in his mind when he’s about to make out with a beautiful woman and logically decides not to use a condom because there’s no way such a beauty could have herpies.
After Mr Wool there is an intermission where I go out to get another drink. During this time a security man approaches and asks me if I was the one taking photos in the front row. I guiltily say I was and that I was taking them for a blog post.
“The manager says not to take photos during the show because of aesthetics but that you can take a few from the back during the first five minutes,” he says.
“I only wanted one or two,” I explain.
“It doesn’t matter,” he says.
Feeling a little dejected, I content myself to a few back of the room photos at the start of the show. I don’t have a zoom and it’s low light so they’re not great shots, but it’s better than nothing and I can understand how someone snapping photos could be a little irritating to a performer.
During a brief pause in Mr Hunter’s show a friendly lady beside me, who I had chatted a bit to pre-show, asks me why I’m not taking any photos and I tell her the story.
Mr Hunter comes back on stage and asks if the break was okay and the lady beside me calls out that it was “too long.”
I call out, “It was perfect.”
She says I was kissing his ass and scolds him for not letting me take a photo.
Mr Hunter replies, “Is she your friend, or are you a man?”
“I’m a man,” I erupt but instantly feel a bit guilty since this lady was quite nice and friendly. The show moves on past this wee hiccup but I’m left with a mild sense of unease.
The rest of the show tackles lots of dark issues in a manner which almost make one feel guilty for laughing. But that’s what makes his shows so enjoyable. At one point he said he was going to talk about feminism and I instantly shatter into a million pieces. Inciting laughter when just attempting to talk about it, he switches to joking about transgender people instead.
The show ends all too soon and when it does I chat to a few women outside in the smoking area who all say they loved the show but remarked that one had to “leave your principles at the door” at such an event. They must be feminists, I think.
On passing the hall where the gig was I see that Mr Hunter is off the stage but still in the room so I decide to seize the opportunity for a chin wag.
“Sorry if that photo incident was a bit awkward,” I say.
“Naw, man, you was defending me,” he says and gives me a big bear hug.
After a brief and funny chat he asks my name, shakes my hand, and tells me it was good to meet me.
“It was good to meet you, too, brah!” I say, because it was.