My Edinburgh: Reginald D Hunter on Fringe disasters and why comedy is like lifting weights

'I’ve had people react badly to my stand-up. I’ve been called sexist, racist and misogynist'

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The Independent Culture

My first trip to Edinburgh as a new stand-up act was in 1998 for the ‘So You Think You’re Funny’ competition. It was my first real taste that things aren’t always fair and equal. I couldn’t wait to win awards but I had to find my own standard of excellence. I’ve only taken a year off since.

As a performer, it’s a long grind. As high and low as it may get, you are essentially lifting weights, so no matter how August goes, by September you will have improved. Nothing beats stage time. My worst experience was a couple of years ago when I woke up at 8.15pm. My show at the Pleasance Grand was at 8pm.  I don’t know if I can convey to you the level of alarm I felt. I had never been late before. When I went on stage at 8.30pm, I apologised and said I had overslept.

In 2004 I had the wrong address for my apartment but the key was still good enough to let me in. The owner happened to be away and I stayed four nights in this apartment with three cats. I thought, ‘Wow, this place is unusually cluttered with animals for a rental’.

This year I’m bringing my show In the Midst of Crackers to Edinburgh. I’ve been touring it but in the last few weeks I’ve started to hate about 70 per cent of the jokes so I’m changing the material for Edinburgh. I’ve had people react badly to my stand-up in the past. I've been called sexist, racist and misogynist. As with the PFA annual awards earlier this year when I was called racist after using the n word,  people are usually cool until the next day. It’s not true that I’m any of these things – it’s when something I said is lifted out of context. Luckily, audiences in Edinburgh are more liberal than in other parts of the country.

Reginald D Hunter: In the Midst of Crackers, Pleasance Courtyard, 9 to 24 August (0131 556 6550); then touring (