My grandfather was, amongst other things, a great raconteur. He had the advantage of having lived an interesting life but his real skill was in the crafting and delivery of the stories he told. I cannot say that I’ve inherited his gift but I always remember something he used to say about being funny:
If you have to explain a joke to your audience then it wasn’t all that funny to begin with.
How does this relate to Reginald D. Hunter at De Monfort Hall? Well, it seemed to me that he spent most of his show doing exactly that. His show opened with an apologia covering his gig at the PFA and a couple of other “controversies”. This felt quite odd and little awkward. Not for the content but simply that he obviously felt he needed to do that before starting. In one way he was trying to redress the balance of any press coverage of these events but it betrayed what seemed to me to be a discomfort with himself. Whether I read that correctly or not it stayed with me through the whole performance and marred an otherwise decent show.
Reginald’s delivery style is contemplative and as such the laughs take a long time to set up. As the show progressed, the time between set up and laugh extended such that it felt more like a monologue than a stand up routine towards the end. Ultimately I came away liking the man a lot rather than being in awe of his comic talent. To be honest, that’s not really what I paid for.
If you went to last night performance or if you’ve seen Reginald D. Hunter live elsewhere get in touch and let me know what you thought of his show.