You wouldn’t think that Steve Hughes and Reginald D. Hunter had that much in common, but as tonights performance at the Lyric showed, they do. They aren’t physically similar, Steve is thin and white, Reginald is heavier and “a person of colour” (a wonderful PC description). But they were both born overseas, Steve in Australia, Reginald in Georgia U.S.A., and they have both lived in England for an extended period of time. This gives them both a greater world view than a comedian who has never left our shores. They can look at the U.K. and our culture, what there is of it nowadays, with a different eye.
Steve Hughes is a heavy metal fan. You couldn’t really tell by looking at him this evening, with his hair tied back and his goatee beard, he looked like a modern day Catweazle. It’s only when he explained that in 1982 he saw Iron Maiden and it changed his life. Mentioning The Irons as he did was something of a coincidence as I had only watched Flight 666 the previous evening after many years that had been Maiden free. His musical preference is mentioned throughout his 45 minute set. He is obviously influenced by Bill Hicks as he has these machine gun rhythm passages describing the war on Iraq. I hadn’t heard of him before tonight but after watching clips on YouTube I’ll be looking out for him in future.
Steve was good but it was Reginald D. Hunter that we had come to see. His appearances on QI and Have I Got News for You were enough to make me buy a ticket. He certainly didn’t disappoint covering racism, conservatism, relationships, stupidity, his family life especially his upbringing in the deep south. All spoken with that laconic deep southern drawl, not quite as deep as Barry White but pretty close. There was some idiot in the audience who kept whistling, a harsh, piercing whistle that Reginald reacted to at first but I think after the third or fourth time it was starting to become irritating. It is a performance, a one way communication of ideas, it isn’t a conversation. Although he did bring the lights up and ask questions, gauging popular opinion by a show of hands. A chap directly behind me called Alan was asked about voting Conservative in the last election.
Reginald did mention a phrase that I’ve only ever heard him say, “I went out with a girl from Glasgow for a strong minute”. It’s that ‘for a strong minute’ that I still can’t quite fathom and what’s worse I’m sure he’s explained it on TV at some time.
With Steve and Reginald both having similar styles they did both touch upon political correctness and health and safety. Maybe they’re spending too much time in each others company, and, judging by the length of this tour, that’s a distinct possibility. You can just imagine them driving off to the next venue, the car windows rolled down and The Commodores playing on the stereo.
“a strong minute” - “a long time but not a very long time” (Wordcraft)