This is Reginald D Hunter’s 20th consecutive Edinburgh Fringe show and a sell out Monday night at the big room in the EICC in what is now the penultimate week of the festival tells you that he’s still as popular as ever.
Hunter is a gifted story teller and for many parts of the show, he has the audience in the palm of his hand with his surprisingly gentle tone and clever turn of phrase. Sibling rivalry and family differences dating back to a complicated childhood in Georgia hold the lions share of the hour. Whilst engrossing anecdotes, the tales themselves weren’t always as laugh out loud funny as they could have been, but combined with his skilled delivery, they were still enjoyable. Two of the more somber tales in the evening covered a funeral and discussed the teenage daughter he doesn’t really know. Both were made light of, but it was clear there were still fragments of underlying regret in there somewhere.
Much has been made over the years about Hunter’s supposedly offensive material, but that doesn’t seem to be a large part of this year’s show. Yes, there’s some shock value packed into the title and a drawn out joke at the end which will leave many gasping for air, but other than that, this isn’t a show that will have many clutching their pearls.
If you’re in the market for a truly unique stand-up experience, an underlying message, or a show with a lasting impression, you won’t find it here. However, if it’s a mildly offensive, but otherwise safe big name show you’re on the hunt for, Hunter offers classic laughs and a thoroughly enjoyable hour.
Reginald D Hunter: An American Facing the Beast and Niggas, Pleasance @ EICC, 16-26 Aug (not 20), 8.30pm