Published: 12:00, 27 April 2015
After an epic road trip from North Carolina to New Orleans, tracking the US South’s 150-year history of popular song, you might be surprised that a long-term return to his American roots couldn’t be further from Reginald D Hunter’s mind.
The 46-year-old comedian, who arrived in the UK as a drama student in the late 1990s, went on the trip, which took in his birthplace of Albany, Georgia, for the recent BBC2 series Songs of the South.
In New Orleans, he got to interview the blues legend Dr John.
Reginald takes up the story. “Dr John asked me, ‘What do you do?’ I told him I was a stand-up, and he replied, ‘So you’re a kicks man. It’s a very important job, providing kicks for people.’ Is ‘kicks man’ how I’d describe myself? It is now! I am hereby christened A Man of Kicks.”
Man of Kicks is a good title for the funnyman who has been furnishing British audiences with thrills for nearly two decades now. During that time, Reginald has become one of the best-loved and most in-demand performers in the UK.
Known for his distinctive take on subjects such as race and sexuality, he is also brutally honest.
But his comedy is always meticulously thought out and he has never been afraid to confront challenging issues head on. A widely-praised TV performer, Reginald is now bringing his brand new live show, The Man Who Attempted To Do As Much As Such, to two Kent theatres: the Assembly Hall Theatre in Tunbridge Wells in April and Chatham’s Central Theatre June.
Crackling with charisma, he manages the very tricky feat of making his audience think deeply and roar with laughter at the same time. The critics have been just as enthusiastic.
'That’s why I’m here. Britain is both my real home and my comedy home'
Following his TV series, back in his adopted home of the UK, Reginald says it is specifically the British stage that he still relishes. “That’s why I’m here. Britain is both my real home and my comedy home.
"British audiences like being surprised comedically. The problem with Americans is that they just want you to get to the funny part.”
Reginald goes on to explore the further differences between the UK and the US.
“In Britain, you can be rude about the royal family. But if you say anything which they deem unpatriotic in the US, they say, ‘Get the hell out of here!’ It’s easy to step on that fuse-box. Patriotism is the last refuge to which the scoundrel clings.
“Unlike people in the US, Brits won’t say, ‘You’re too deep’ or ‘You think too much’.
“I’m not a social outcast in Britain because I use words of more than five letters. That’s one of the many things I love about Britain.”
Reginald D Hunter’s show The Man Who Attempted to Do As Much As Such is at the Assembly Hall Theatre in Tunbridge Wells on Thursday, April 30 at 8pm. Tickets cost £24 plus booking fee. Visit www.assemblyhalltheatre.co.uk or call 01892 530613.
The tour returns to Kent at Chatham’s Central Theatre on Sunday, June 7 at 8pm. Tickets cost from £22. Visit www.tickets.medway.gov.uk.
More by this authorJo Roberts
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