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Comedy is my true love.

THERE'S a truth universally acknowledged in comedy circles that the title of a comedian's tour will rarely have anything to do with what is actually said on stage.

It's usually owing to the fact they've had to dream it up on a drizzly autumn evening, months before they actually sit down to write it.

"I know!" laughs Reginald D Hunter. "It's profoundly unfair, and I get real pouty about that. Ask my agent."

The Man Who Attempted to Do as Much as Such, which he brings to the Philharmonic Hall next weekend, is, it turns out, only half the case in point however.

"I was standing in Moscow at the time, and my agent rang and said 'hey, the deadline is today, we need the name of the show'," the 46-yearold comedian reveals. "And I was attempting to do several things at that point in my life, so I was like...OK."

So who is Such, and exactly how much has he done? "You see," Reg parries. "Those are questions that are more easily answered after you see the show.

"It is part of the crux of my show, indicated by being part of the title, but I will reveal that the man in the poster and the man in the title refers to me.

"I'm hoping my minders won't get too upset by that."

Leaving his imminent visit to Liverpool aside for a moment, what exactly was the laconic American doing in Moscow? It turns out he was working, performing stand-up to Russians - and a few Finns who had crossed the border - with the aid of a translator.

That must, I suggest, have been an interesting experience.

"I was curious about them, they were curious about me," he offers. "So it seemed like a sound enough basis on which to begin a relationship."

One cultural difference turned out to be a lack of toleration for bad language. Apart from, ironically, one particularly offensive term. Let's just say it begins with an 'M' and ends with an 'R. "They've had the word entered into their national lexicon as part of the official language," Reg claims. "Only since Pulp Fiction, and that's the God's honest truth. The movie was so popular in Russia.

"They're pretty rough on slang and referring to sexual parts, so that makes it doubly amazing."

It's been a busy 12 months of travelling for the Georgia-born stand-up, who made his home in the UK almost two decades ago.

Last spring he played the Melbourne Comedy Festival and Sydney Opera House Gala, before making his New Zealand debut at its premiere comedy festival.

He moved on from there to take on his first tour of mainland Europe.

Then, of course, there was filming for Reginald D Hunter's Songs of the South, screened on BBC2 earlier this year, which saw him undertake an epic roadtrip from North Carolina to New Orleans and through 150 years of American popular song.

While he can appear the epitome of cool and laid-back, you get the impression the project affected him on a deep level.

He was approached to do the show by the boss of the production company.

"He saw me one night and he thought it would be a great idea if I just narrated," Reg explains.

"But it grew into something else, because it was striking at the heart of things that were very personal to me."

The seven-strong team spent long days together travelling the highways and byways of the Deep South to put together the well-received series.

"Everybody laid out for it," says the comedian. "Everybody worked extra hours, everybody worked past being p***ed off! Everybody worked past the heat.

"And I find that any time several people are looking in the same direction, even if they aren't looking at the same spot, if they look in the same direction for a period of time, that's how revolutions happen, that's how the electoral map changes.

"You just need to do it for a little while. So the seven people who worked on it in my crew, we were all from different backgrounds, but we were all looking in the same direction for six weeks and it happened to work out really well."

When we talk, he's recently returned from a second long trip to the US.

"I'm elated to be back in England," he says, deadpanning, "it's great to be back in a place where white people are only verbally dangerous."

He has though, come back in the midst of the election run up.

"Hey, elections are gifts from the comedy gods," he points out.

"Everytime there's a sex scandal in the news, or a stupid politician is going to be in for a while, it's a gift."

With his tour starting in earnest this week, he'll be right in the midst of things - and in Wrexham - on election night.

And it appears he's ready, after his TV series, to get back on stage, despite his last tour attracting a small but vocal band of critics on social media who objected to some of his language.

"I don't like to start no trouble - but I don't like to run from none either," he offers, adding: "It was just a thing for the day.

"And I wish that I'd said some things differently... but I meant everything I said!" So what can people expect from the new show? "Ma'am, I don't really know what I can tell you about it," he laughs. "I don't have any desire to be cagey, I want to be as helpful as I can.

"But it's not like a movie where you can give trailers. I don't expect to be playing a musical instrument, nor do I anticipate an hour of puns and jokes."

What he can say is it feels good to be back on the road, with what remains, resolutely, his day job and first love.

"It's the girl who brought me to the dance," he says. "So I'm going home with her!

"She's brought me to many dances, and she's made me mad, and she's made me confused, and she's made me feel on top of the world.

"She's been there for almost 17 years now. So stand up comedy is the thing."

Reginald D Hunter is at the .Philharmonic Hall on May 10.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:May 1, 2015
Words:1068
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