REGINALD D HUNTER
07/05/2014 - 10/05/2014
29/04/2014 - 03/05/2014
THE NEW ZEALAND DEBUT
INTERNATIONAL COMIC HEAVYWEIGHT TO HIT NZ FOR FIRST TIME
Following sellout tours of the UK and critically acclaimed performances around the world, Reginald D Hunter – one of the UK’s most popular stand up comedians – is proud to make his debut this year at the 2014 New Zealand International Comedy Festival from 29 April – 3 May.
In the fifteen years since he began performing, Reginald D Hunter has become one of the UK Comedy Industry’s best-known and most distinctive performers. His work is often brutally honest, frequently controversial but always meticulously measured and thought out.
“Reginald D Hunter joins the top rank of stand-up comedians working today…a comedian going for broke, flying in the face of received opinion in a way that is simply exhilarating…this is comedy of a rare scope.” The Times
Reginald’s debut in New Zealand will see him present an hour’s set with performances in both Auckland and Wellington.
Originally from Albany, Georgia, Reginald has resided in the UK for over a decade and is a well known face on Television and the UK Comedy Circuit. His popularity has lead to him being invited to perform in venues around the world in places such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, South Africa, America and Australia.
He is one of the few comics to have been nominated for a Perrier Award three years running at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and is a regular guest on iconic British television shows including Live at the Apollo, The Graham Norton Show, Have I Got News For You and 8 Out of 10 Cats.
The Sunday Times said, “His presence and intelligence make him one of the most brilliantly unpredictable comics”, whilst the Independent wrote that his material is “Sharp enough to burst balloons”.
Make sure you don’t miss the unique and razor-sharp comedy of Reginald D. Hunter in his New Zealand debut.
As part of the 2014 NZ International Comedy Festival in cahoots with Old Mout Cider, grab some mates and join us for a great night of laughs from 24 April – 18 May.
Dates: Tue 29 April – Sat 3 May, 7pm
Venue: Comedy Chamber, Auckland Town Hall, 303 Queen Street
Tickets: $37 & Groups 6+ $35
Bookings: 09 970 9700 // ticketmaster.co.nz
Dates: Wed 7 – Sat 10 May, 7pm
Venue: Hannah Playhouse, 12 Cambridge Terrace
Bookings: 0800 TICKETEK (842 538) // ticketek.co.nz
For the full Comedy Fest show line-up head to comedyfestival.co.nz
More interesting than funny
Review by Simon Howard 08th May 2014
Making his New Zealand debut on the back of great reviews and boasting a reputation as one of the UK’s most-established and interesting comedians, hopes are high for Reginald D Hunter’s opening night in Wellington.
Striding out without introduction in a hooded top, Hunter begins with material related to his week and a half in New Zealand. This is common choice by many international comedians in this festival, but not one which delivers much in the way of laughter. His comparison of New Zealand people as being similar to a gorgeous girlfriend (in that we constantly seek approval of how great we are) is amusing however.
It doesn’t take long for Hunter to move on from his generic ‘getting to know you’ opening into a series of discussions and observations about western culture and the society we live in today. He talks eloquently about our beliefs and makes intelligent assumptions about the decisions we make and the way we act. This is done in a commanding way, with a graceful poise and softly-spoken authority. At times his words strike a chord and make us think, but too often Hunter fails to reach a satisfactory conclusion and drifts into his next subject.
On a couple of occasions he raises the house lights to ask questions of the audience as a means of research. This is a hit and miss affair, although his theories from our responses are sometimes clever, in particular his view on Lance Armstrong and the irrelevance of his cycling profession.
Hunter is an intelligent and articulate comedian. He has the confidence to tackle weighty topics like rape and misogyny in great detail through a series of lengthy musings. However, after a while it all becomes a little tiresome. Light relief is not a feature of this show. He talks about difficult subjects in a way that shocks audiences who aren’t prepared for it. As a result, Hunter never seems to fully engage with his audience. Is that our fault or his? Whilst he is always able to justify his opinions and theories, it doesn’t make the audience warm toward – nor be sympathetic to – him.
The main problem with the hour, in my opinion, is there are large swathes where Hunter is simply not funny. This is certainly not your typical hour of comedy. There are a couple of occasions where the entire audience breaks out into laughter, but on the whole these moments are few and far between. The show lacks pace and energy.
Hunter says he has come to the other side of the world to get funny again after a self-imposed break from comedy last year. His passion for what he’s talking about can’t be questioned, and his presence and delivery is fairly endearing. But this certainly doesn’t feel like a comedian at the peak of his powers. One can’t help but expect more. Sadly Hunter is more interesting than he is funny.
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Devilish debut delights
Review by Sharu Delilkan 30th Apr 2014
Reginald D Hunter is exactly as his biography describes him – unassuming, provocative, raw, fresh and above all else funny.
The American born comic exudes the Southern charm of a gentlemen which stands him in good stead, particularly when tackling a wide spectrum of topics. Many of which make people uncomfortable and shock especially since he catches us off guard, due to his skilfulness at lulling us into a false sense of security. [More]
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Just getting to know us
Review by Nik Smythe 30th Apr 2014
Reginald D Hunter’s reputation precedes him, having appeared numerous times on QI, the greatest panel/quiz show in living history. On that he’s always struck me as a smooth, glib, image conscious expat African American.
Now, in real life at his first hour (and bonus twenty minutes*), most of that impression remains, although image-wise he’s rather casually dressed in jeans, sneakers and untucked shirt, more like a West-coast Rasta than the scrubbed-up, blinged-out … fellow I’ve seen on telly.
I almost used the N word there, which I know for a fact Hunter would totally understand and appreciate due to his opening anecdote and explanation of his own relationship with that word. However the same anecdote presents a warning about people’s propensity to cast blanket judgements over the use of such language in our post-post-modern society, hence my restraint. Plus it’s not a natural part of my personal vernacular.
Reginald’s opening spiel reveals two things. One, he’s still feeling the burn from the fallout of a local media scandal he was in the centre of last year for using said bad word at a high profile event, to the point of being pre-emptively defensive about it. Two, he’s unsure what to talk to us Kiwis about since we seem so nice, not weighed down with parochial racial tension like just about everywhere else he’s been by the sound of it. He’s in awe of our lack of such problems.
It’s true we mainly white liberals attending his show are the sort who live for the most part in blissful detachment from racial hostilities, while generally aware that they still persist to varying degrees in our society.
The tone of his narration supports Hunter’s claim to organically feeling his way with our responses and attitudes to his opinionated yarns, careful not to over-offend as he may well to live here one day, presumably after the rest of the world evicts him for keeping it too real.
It’s not all about race of course; it’s at least as much about women and the evils of mass media and American politics. One cannot even raise these subjects in order to comment upon them without the risk of seeming belligerent, bigoted, paranoid or all three.
Yet however crass or off-colour Reginald’s standpoint may appear, it’s clear he gives a lot of ongoing, rational thought to these issues, being as they are the elephants in the room of his life. He’s genuinely discussing these points, not merely spouting off the same old misguided dogma as a true bigot would.
Probably his most helpful asset, besides his easy natural humour, is his eminent likeability. Hailing from Georgia USA and residing in London UK, he is a 45 year-old family man from a place where elders are respected no matter what, as the reverence he openly shares for his elderly father will testify. His converse smack-talk on his own siblings is in line with common global cultural position, though when the chips are down you can believe he’d still be there for them.
There are pauses, not just long but deep as well, either for effect or whilst he wonders where to take his ‘research’ next, during which we’re totally hanging on his next word. He repeatedly apologises for this being not his best work as he’s still getting to know us Kiwis culturally The self-deprecation is mostly totally unnecessary although on a Festival timetable running late it is a no-no as per the example below.
These issues aside, it is a privilege to encounter the man’s historic national debut performance and I hope and trust he feels welcome enough to take it further and deeper in future, while at the same time a bit shorter just for the scheduling reasons mentioned.
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*I regretfully confess that due to being late to collect my tickets for Steven Boyce at 8.30 after finally coming out of this show; they’d sold them to someone else. Although Boyce was just beginning when we arrived at Luna, the house was full to legal capacity so I missed it. Apologies to Mr. Boyce, and if I can’t make it on a different night I at least hope the sold-out opening reflects his houses for the remainder of the fest. Assuming he’s worth it of course.
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