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Reginald D Hunter@Apollo

PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 1:54 pm
by Garth Cartwright
I rarely go and see standup comedy. I put this down to when first in the UK I worked one Edinburgh Festival at the Golden Balloon, then the largest comedy club in the festival. I did door and stage and so saw the same performers doing their act night after night. Like eating too much chocolate I ended up overdosing on standup comedy.

But I do like to watch Chris Rock, Richard Pryor and some other US standups on dvd or youtube - Robin Williams death reminded me how brilliant he was at standup. So when I heard that Reginald D Hunter was touring - and I liked his TV series about the South - I decided to buy a ticket. £28 - I've paid more for certain gigs but that is still a lot of money for me for a night's entertainment.

I arrived to find no support standup, no DJ or band or anything. Just two sets of Reggie. Both about forty minutes long. It started right on 8 so we were out of there well before 10. An early night. I never knew Reggie existed before the TV series - I had not heard of his controversy at the FA awards or such. I really don't pay attention to the standup scene beyond being aware the really popular comics play the O2 in Greenwich - 18000 seats! But I knew he was from Georgia and came to the UK as an actor and morphed into standup. His show is largely anecdotal ie he does not tell jokes with punchlines. I thought he would really be on one about the church massacre and Confederate flag in South Carolina but he made little mention of it. He did talk about race and was often witty but he mostly spoke on his relationships with women. He was observant, interesting, but not often that funny. It was like listening to a guy you've just met in a bar or on a plane - you pay attention, nod along, agree at times, but it's not brilliant, just interesting, And sometimes a bit nasty. Actually, the best line of the night was one when speaking with a female friend who tells him she's been raped but didn't call the police but she never worried that he would do such and he replies "I didn't know you wouldn't call the police!" Oohh! Thing is, the whole build up to this line was serious - this woman telling him about what had happened to her. To end it like that is, I guess, done for shock. But it was also disappointing as he told other stories that were not made to make us laugh but to reflect on human foibles. It seems he got the gag out and then forgot about the woman and her tale.

Anyway, I quite enjoyed the evening but thought it was worth about £8. I mean, you pay to see a band and there are several musicians, a PA, a sound engineer, roadies, tour manager, support band etc. Theatre you get actors, set designers, director etc. Football - well, you know what. But a standup comedian - one mic, one light setting. And £28 was not expensive compared with bigger name comedians. What a racket! How do they justify this? And why do the public pay it? Is it the TV thing? We see some witty guy on TV so go off and pay silly money to see them chat on stage? I know, I just did.

Kids, if you want to enter the entertainment industry and make money forget being an actor or musician, work on your jokes. Or. more accurately, your ability to tell stories about your experiences (and add the occasional punchline).

Re: Reginald D Hunter@Apollo

PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 8:22 pm
by Jamie Renton
Garth Cartwright wrote: Kids, if you want to enter the entertainment industry and make money forget being an actor or musician, work on your jokes.


A whole new career path for you Garth?

"Now take Goran Bregović, PLEASE take Goran Bregović!"

"I wouldn't say my mother-in-law looks like Vera Bila..."

Re: Reginald D Hunter@Apollo

PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 8:26 pm
by Jamie Renton
Jamie Renton wrote:
Garth Cartwright wrote: Kids, if you want to enter the entertainment industry and make money forget being an actor or musician, work on your jokes.


A whole new career for you Garth?

"Now take Goran Bregović, PLEASE take Goran Bregović!"

"I wouldn't say my mother-in-law looks like Vera Bila..."

Re: Reginald D Hunter@Apollo

PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 9:52 pm
by NormanD
Jamie Renton wrote:
Garth Cartwright wrote: Kids, if you want to enter the entertainment industry and make money forget being an actor or musician, work on your jokes.


A whole new career path for you Garth?

"Now take Goran Bregović, PLEASE take Goran Bregović!"

"I wouldn't say my mother-in-law looks like Vera Bila..."
If it's a good joke, don't just say it once......say it three times

Re: Reginald D Hunter@Apollo

PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 10:12 pm
by NormanD
I can't offer a guess at the ticket pricing policy of £28. Is he far better known than you/I realise, Garth, so he knows there's a high demand? Around this time of year - from late Spring onwards - many comics are trailing their Edinburgh fringe shows, honing the material, getting the timing right, etc, so are often playing at smaller comedy venues around town (and even in south London!), sometimes with little publicity or at short notice.

I've seen Stewart Lee a couple of times at Leicester Square theatres, and probably paid about the same, £25 or so. Both times, he was running through material for his next tv series, and was quite open about this. The two halves of the show were two themed episodes. I didn't feel at all inclined to think: why am I paying through the nose to see him rehearse? If you know him, and better still really like him, you wouldn't think that. And that's not me being a gushing or gullible fan, either.

Re: Reginald D Hunter@Apollo

PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 7:58 am
by Jamie Renton
NormanD wrote: "I wouldn't say my mother-in-law looks like Vera Bila..."
If it's a good joke, don't just say it once......say it three times[/quote]

not quite sure what happened there. But if I delete my repetitive posts it will render Norman's joke above meaningless, so I'll leave them be.

Back in the 1980s I used to go and see and enjoy (what was then called) "alternative" comedy a bit and in the early 90s lived opposite the Town and Country 2 (now The Garage) which put on a lot of comedy (including some free recordings of radio programmes).

But I gave up on it all after that, as the number of comedy clubs around town grew, filled with comedians who had nothing much to say and a need to please the drunken office parties and stag nights that made up a large part of their audience (there's only so many times you want to hear about someone going to a kebab shop at closing time).

Meanwhile the big stadium comedy acts were like big stadium music acts: loud, empty, playing to the lowest common denominator.

As with music, there's always good stuff around in comedy (Stewart Lee's a good example) you've just got to search it out.