Hunter refuses to become the hunted

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Usually when the name Reginald D Hunter is mentioned, the word controversial isn’t too far away.

But as far as the man himself is concerned, controversy is just a relative term.

“I don’t find controversy offensive. I find contrived controversy offensive,” he says.

“I think if you are controversial in the pursuit of a greater truth or to be funny because there is often truth in a joke - I don’t mind that. It’s not that I like controversy, it’s just in the pursuit of what I am after, I don’t mind it.

“Then you take someone like Katie Hopkins. Her fake opinions, which she gives all the time, are very incendiary and inciting.

“But I would bet real money that her real opinions are more interesting.”

Hunter, who is appearing at the Millennium Forum on Thursday evening with his new show ‘The Aluminum Negro’, is for once shying away from the word which landed Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams in hot water not so long ago.

Naturally, he had his own take on that:

“In some circles this man is reputed to be a terrorist and if you think that he was a terrorist, then you can’t be shocked that he used the word.

“At the very least if you think he was involved in these unseemly things in the past, then is it really the worst thing that he has ever done? You get people who acted shocked and say ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe it’.

“Knowing what you know about Gerry Adams, is using that word the most shocking thing that he has ever done?

“You gonna get some people who ain’t going to like that and get upset about it and there’s a group of people in the world who are perpetually offended.

“They are offended before they even get to your show and are looking for just one thing to go off about.”

Hunter has spent the last 19 years of his life carving out a living on the comedy circuit in the UK and is a regular on game shows like ‘QI’, ‘Eight out of Ten Cats’ and ‘Have I Got News For You’.

And he says that his time in Britain has radically changed his view of the Southern States he grew up in.

“I didn’t intend to make the UK my home,” he says. “I thought I was going to be here six months, tops.

“But the universe intended something different. I thought the UK would be my graduate school before I went off into the larger world.

“I guess the UK now is one of my homes - in fact it is my second home and living in the UK all these years has shaped my point of view. People like me, from my part of the world, we feel that as long as we are not being shot at or over arrested, we can cope with everything else.

“I did this music documentary and I had to go back to the south and I tried to find every excuse not to do it. There is an accepted present segregation that still exists in the south.

“And the truth is that I would not have noticed that had I not come and lived over here for 20 years.

“So when I went back after having lived here for a while I just thought, ‘this isn’t cool’.”

Hunter is famed for the polite Southern manners which do so much to hide the razor-sharp barbs which lurk in his stand-up material.

And his time away from Georgia has done nothing to eradicate his trademark Southern drawl.

“I’ve lived in the UK for 19 years now and have been to Ireland probably a few times every year for the last 16 years. A lot of people think every time I come that it’s the first time I’ve been there - but the reality is - it’s just the first time they noticed.”

Reginald D Hunter takes to the stage of the Millennium Forum on Thursday night. Tickets at www.millenniumforum.co.uk or 71264455.