Stephen K Amos is no stranger to Australian audiences. The English comedian has been visiting our shores for ten years and has made us laugh with his funny anecdotes and observations. The author of the hilarious autobiography, I Used to Say My Mother Was Shirley Bassey, has just completed a run of shows for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and it will soon be Sydney’s turn to witness this funny man. The AU Review sat down with Stephen to talk about strange people breaking out into impromptu performances at KFC, leadership coups and what things make him laugh.
Can you briefly introduce yourself? How long have you been working in comedy?
I’m Stephen K Amos and I’ve been doing gags for crowds for almost 20 years and this my tenth year coming to Australia. That means Australia has been a part of my career for half my comedy life! I actually remember my first solo show in Australia, which premiered at the Sydney, Newtown, RSL in 2006. I ought to have got honorary citizenship for that one. My show this year is coming to Sydney at the Enmore Theatre and the Concourse in Chatswood (for those people who don’t like to cross the bridge), and if you don’t know about them, you must have missed your copy of the Gazette.
Can you briefly describe your latest comedy show, The Laughter Master?
My latest comedy show is called the Laughter Master and it’s all about big belly laughs from curtain up until close. It’s a collection of gags and my funny musings taken from a year of touring on the road. Every night is different because I like talking about anything and everything in my shows, but this year I touch on a few current affairs and material about the modern world. No need to bring a hankie, it’s just my take on things. Comedy can be a great lens to open up about some tough subjects and laugh at them together.
Why do you think audiences should come and see The Laughter Master?
Come and see the Laughter Master because I’m loving doing this show! This is the longest tour I’ve done in Australia for a while and something always happens in the room that’s completely unpredictable, unplanned and unique. I’ve taken it half way across your massive island by now and I never do a gig without finding a person in the audience who reveals something amazing about themselves and I’m just left thinking, yeah, you’ll be in tomorrow’s show.
In your opinion, what skills are necessary to be a “Laughter Master?” Can this be taught?
You can be a barrel of laughs, you can be funny, you can even be hilarious, a laugh riot, witty or droll, but I’m not sure if you can really describe yourself as the “Laughter Master”, because that would be arrogant.
What is the funniest joke or thing you’ve even seen/heard? Why do you think this is funny?
I once saw a man walk into a KFC restaurant and serenade the woman at the till with a full rendition of Boyz II Men’s classic hit of the 90s ‘I’ll Make Love To You’. This song (with pretty graphic lyrics) went on for about four solid minutes and to his credit he sang it really well. What I found funny is she gave him an extra piece of leg and told him to get out, like this happened every day.
You’ve recently toured the UK and appeared at the Melbourne Comedy Festival. How do Australian audiences differ from the ones in Europe? Do you have to change your show to include local references?
The audiences in Australian are great and they’re a lot like UK audiences so I don’t have to change much. It’s basically the same culture but separated by 10,000 miles. I do some local political references, not so much to include Australians but because your politics is so ridiculously funny. I mean you’ve had more leadership coups here than Egypt, and they’ve had two revolutions. Internationally, the Canadians are very funny too. Don’t ask me too many questions about Americans until after the November election though.
You’re a frequent visitor to Australia. What is the funniest thing to have happened to you in Oz?
You can name a different one on a daily basis. I love Australians because you say it like it is, even when you shouldn’t.
Do you ever go and watch other comedians during the comedy festivals you appear at? Are there any you would recommend to our readers?
I try and go and see as much as I can when I’m at festivals but I have to fit around my own show. I just look at the guide and find someone nearby two hours before or an hour after my show and go see them. It’s a great system because it’s really unpredictable. The best thing about a festival is seeing new acts that you’ve never seen before. In Melbourne this year I saw an indigenous comedian called Shiralee Hood who was hilarious and who had a very unique and important voice.
You’ve written a very funny autobiography called, “I Used to Say My Mother Was Shirley Bassey”. What’s your favourite anecdote or scene for this book? Why did you pick this one?
Page 42 was always my favourite.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell The AU Review about The Laughter Master or future works?
There’s a lot of stuff in the pipeline in Australia and the UK but right now my focus is on doing my live show – there’s nothing in the world that compares to live comedy!
Originally published on 1 May 2016 at the following website: http://arts.theaureview.com/interviews/stephen-k-amos-talks-about-kfc-karaoke-laughter-and-his-sydney-comedy-festival-shows/
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