Reginald D Hunter has recently spoken out about the little niggles in life which he just cannot tolerate – false media coverage and black comedians using racism as an excuse for their lack of success.
The honest-to-god funny man proclaimed misleading media really winds him up: “It’s like the media coverage surrounding Osama Bin Laden’s death; I found that questionable. They were like, ‘Yeah, we got him’, but I’m thinking, ‘How you mean you got him? There ain’t no good pictures!’”
Calling the shots as he sees it has lead Hunter to become a well loved comedian of our time, frequently appearing on TV shows such as; Never Mind The Buzzcocks, 8 Out Of 10 Cats and Have I Got News For You. The Georgia born star (who relocated to England 15 years ago) takes inspiration from real life issues and current affairs to provide comedic material audiences can really relate to.
Sharing thoughts on issues close to his heart, he speaks out on the matter of his usage of the word ‘n****r’, which the comedian admits he uses quite a lot. Evoking anger amongst many black people, Hunter remains unapologetic. He says, “I’m 40 years old. And if I thought preventing people from saying certain words would advance anything for black people, I’d be all for it. But I’ve seen black people trying to prevent
people from saying all kinds of words, and 30 years later, we’re no better off. So I think that whole issue is a non-debate and I think it’s the type of non-debate black people are given to waste our time with so that we don’t grow or evolve -‘n****r’ is an old word and the generation that was most hurt by it is dying out. I think we need to be careful about holding on to and embracing pain that’s not ours. We can remember the pain of our forefathers and use that as instruction for the future. But it is not our pain. There’s enough pain for our generation to deal with; we don’t need to hold on to old 1940s pain too!”
Outspoken views have also seen the comic vocalising his views about the black British comedy circuit, saying he feels that many black comics try to pin the blame on racism as the reason for their lack of success in the comedy field. A view which he says is misguided. “There is racism everywhere, but that’s not what’s preventing them from playing to a mainstream audience,” he says. “The problem is, they’re not speaking to that audience. They’re looking at a white audience and talking to black people. The same is true of some white comics when they play to black audiences; the life experiences that they talk about do not relate to the people they’re speaking to. You can’t expect people to listen to you if you’re
not interesting to them.”
Speaking to The Voice on his views of the longstanding theory that black British comics have to resort to buffoonery in order to suit a mainstream audience, he had this to say: “There is some truth to that. On a certain level, comedy does require some buffoonery. The number one rule of comedy to me is that you’re there to be laughed at. So to some extent, buffoonery is necessary. But what is not necessary, especially for black folks, is coonery. If you’re in the business for fame, money and a pat on the back, you probably will make the decision to resort to coonery. A lot of the time when black comedians decide to make that move to be accepted by the mainstream, they do the things they think are necessary. But very often, they choose the wrong path and when it doesn’t work out, they blame the mainstream. But the truth is, they shoulda talked to somebody smart before they took off with their plan!”
Hunter says he is all too aware of the generalisations that some black audiences tend to make of black comics on the mainstream circuit success ladder – that he is ‘for white people.’ “That is hurtful because it almost suggests that I made a conscious decision to play exclusively to white audiences, and that’s not the case”, he says, “and I think on a certain level, all of us want to be accepted and approved by our own people. I love black people. It would be great to see more than two of them at my shows!”