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live comedy review: stephen k. amos, enmore theatre, 4 may 2012

Stephen K. Amos is pretty fly (for an English guy). The Americans have mistaken him for Geoffrey from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air while the Thais thought he was Samuel L. Jackson. He didn’t mind being called the latter until he discovered that the actor is 63-years-old. His show, Laughter Is My Agenda, had a simple-enough premise even though the jokes were anything but. At this particular meeting you’ll be pleased to know that there were no action items, except laughter…

Amos started the show by saying that comedians are a lot like politicians in that they both stand-up in front of a room full of strangers and tell lies. It’s also worth noting that he shares the bold spirit and, at times, the sort of condescending nature our leaders and teachers possess. While some comedians are content to engage in some cheeky banter with their audience, Amos’ style verged on the hostile a he picked on an 18-year-old guy in the front row who was out with his Mum rather than the girlfriend. It was rather awkward to watch the comedian wait for the guy to answer what his favourite kind of porn is, a question that left the kid rather red-faced for multiple reasons.

The flipside to Amos’ style is that he is also unashamedly honest. He will say the sorts of jokes that lesser comedians would tap dance around. He is certainly not afraid to veer off into territory that is political, absurd and thought-provoking. At times this means the humour can be rather dark but then, comedy wasn’t exactly built to be cute and cuddly. His style was apparently lost on one writer who conceded in their review that they didn’t get the Englishman’s jokes at all. But then, this person also confused The Galápagos Islands with Gallipoli, so who’s laughing now?

In addition to pushing boundaries, Amos’ repertoire is one that is coloured by bravado, even though he is humbled by his roots. The son of Nigerian parents although born in England, he certainly inherited a good sense of humour from his ma and pop. His dad once said: “Stevie, first and foremost you are Nigerian, except when you’re passing through Heathrow airport”.

Amos started doing comedy in order to get attention. He is a twin from a large family and there were moments when even his mother forgot his name. For my money it was these personal stories that were the funniest in the show. That’s not to detract from his other material; I just found myself laughing more. I’d also love to see some of these anecdotes drawn together into a memoir because they’d make for one interesting book.

In the meantime though, fans can enjoy Amos’ sharp tongue and cheeky repartee, because he’d assured us early on that we were gonna “Have a larf”. And unlike most politicians, he actually delivered on his promise.

5 thoughts on “live comedy review: stephen k. amos, enmore theatre, 4 may 2012

  1. Pingback: COMEDY REVIEW: STEPHEN K. AMOS @ ENMORE THEATRE (04.05.2012) « Natalie Salvo's Written Portfolio

  2. I thought his show was rubbish.. Used to be a big fan of his and bought tickets for a group of us to go see him. We literally couldn’t wait to see him, all built up for a great show.

    .. Then all respect for the guy came crashing down as we saw a bored comedian flip through a notepad to read out a few jokes he jotted down for the last 20 minutes of a short, flaccid show. We were gutted. Not only was he bored, he was exceptionally nasty, really taking aim at the country hosting his show. I’m all for taking the piss but the guy really had it in for the audience.

    50 bucks for a couple new jokes followed by 20 minutes of reading his notepad. Not worth it. Surprised you never mentioned the notepad. We all looked at each other thinking this was just a minute long joke of his, hoping against the odds that he would put his notepad down and start entertaining us again only to have our hopes dashed for the remainder of the show.

    He just isn’t that good, nor professional a comedian. Who the hell stands up there and reads out jokes off a notepad. Ugh. Learn your material, Amos! We paid enough for it!

  3. I think you make some interesting comments Sey. But I actually didn’t have any issue with his using a notepad because he’d said he was trying new material.

    I did allude to the nasty comments by saying his nature was condescending…Not having seen him live before I wasn’t sure if this is just a part of his stage persona (e.g. like Dylan Moran playing the grumpy man and the like…)

    I’m sorry that the show wasn’t up to your expectations but I stand by my comments that for me, his strongest material was when he was talking about his family.

    I guess we can all agree that comedy is so subjective and therefore difficult to review. I mean consider that something that can make one person double over in laughter can barely register a smirk on the face of another. So once again, thanks for your thoughts. 🙂

  4. Thanks for your reply. Definitely true that comedy is subjective, but don’t you think he should have saved his untested jokes for small pub crowds instead of day 1 of his comedy tour? He should have got his material sorted out before embarking on a big tour, especially for the asking price. It came off as slack.

    Eh, I guess I just feel cheated, considering I loved his older material. And broken hearted. I’ve taken all his pictures off the wall and returned his flowers.

    Dylan Moran, now that’s a guy that can really injure my ribs. Or Pablo Francisco. Google the guy, he’s hilarious. Then again, that’s subjective but I’m sure you’d find him funny, fingers crossed. ;D

  5. Fair point re: new material on day one of the tour. And I’m so sorry you had to take those photos off the wall and return the flowers ha ha 😀

    Although I’ve heard of Pablo Fancisco I can’t say I know all that much about him. But with that ringing endorsement I will definitely have to check his work out. 🙂

    Did you see many shows at the Sydney Comedy Festival? I saw quite a few and this year I felt Danny Bhoy’s show topped the lot. I do find it changes every year…

    But you’re right, Dylan is always good talent. Then again, you are talking to a major fan of his who did see him in the UK (twice) and quite a few times in Sydney so I probably am a little biased. 😉

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