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strict regime Comedian Reginald D. Hunter tells how his father cheated on mum with 'all her friends'

"I remember Mama saying to me one time, 'your daddy is a good man, he provides and everything, but he drank and he cheated. I said, 'really mama?' She said, 'He went through all my friends.' "

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Reginald D Hunter Pic: Kash Seff

Reginald D Hunter Pic: Kash Seff

Reginald D Hunter Pic: Kash Seff

HE'S a major star of comedy but Reginald D. Hunter says his father was funnier, and women - including all of his mother's female friends - found his sense of humour and charm irresistible.

As he gets set to tour Ireland next month, Hunter recalls his mother revealing to him that his father, who died last year at the age of 101 from Covid-19, had bedded all her friends.

"I remember Mama saying to me one time, 'your daddy is a good man, he provides and everything, but he drank and he cheated. I said, 'really mama?' She said, 'He went through all my friends.'"

Hunter laughs at the memory. The couple were married for more than 60 years, so what was their secret to staying together amid his father's string of flings and affairs? "You know, they came from that generation where you just don't leave," he tells the Sunday World.

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Reginald D. Hunter

Reginald D. Hunter

Reginald D. Hunter

"But I do remember my mother one time commenting to me about my dad, 'Look at him!' she said. 'When I was around 19 I would have scratched another woman's eyes out for looking at him too hard. Now if another woman wanted him I think I'd give him the bus fare.'"

Hunter speaks fondly of his father. "That man was a happy drunk," he says. "He probably was an alcoholic, but he was a happy drunk. He would come home drunk. He'd be cracking jokes and I remember all the ladies, my mother's friends who loved him, saying, 'honey, you would make a chicken laugh!"

The youngest of nine children, Hunter's father was 50 when he was born and he feels that they had a closer bond than the rest of his siblings.

"Daddy sired his first child at 19, but he only started being interested in being a father after 50 when I was born," Reginald tells me. "I knew Dad when he was cuddly and selling burgers and chips, but when he was in his 30s he was a rough dude, man.

"My dad told me once that a man at 65 may be completely different to who he was at 25, but he still has to answer for that 25-year-old. I've said a good many stupid things. I spend a lot of time in my life going back to people and trying to put things right. I think I'm about 70 per cent of the way there."

Reginald grew up dirt poor in Albany, Georgia, where his mother ran the home with a strict regime. "My parents were uneducated, but my mother worked for years as a domestic in privileged white and Jewish people's homes, and she saw how those women ran those homes," he says.

"When she went home to her working-class ghetto she began to implement those systems. She insisted on bedtimes and education and aspiring to something other than what you were born into. I didn't get it at the time. If I could go back I'd tell her I see the method in her madness now, and I'd tell my younger self to shut his damn mouth and get on with it."

Reginald has established himself as one of the most electrifying performers on the stand up comedy scene in the UK - and Irish audiences have also fallen for his searingly honest and sometimes provocative material. "We just 'get' each other, we have the same sense of humour," he adds.

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Reginald D. Hunter will play Ireland in January and February on his Bombe Shuffleur Tour. Tickets are now on sale.

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