Writer: Stephen K Amos
Reviewer: Ruth Jepson
Stephen K Amos is a really nice bloke. Sheepishly trotting into the bar of The Studio half an hour late he was going to have to treat the audience when he finally got on stage. So what did he give them? An extra half hour of improvised material by being his own warm up man – Stephen K Amos to the rescue of Stephen K Amos!
Amos had made the mistake all Southerners do when journeying up North – not checking the M1 for road works and getting stuck in traffic. Luckily he’s such a genuine bloke that the audience largely accepted the late start, and the self-deprecating humour went a long way towards settling them. Unfortunately though, the atmosphere never got quite the level of warmth for every joke to land well, and it was clear Amos was having to work hard to win back favour.
‘The Spokesman’ tour has evolved from Amos’ coming out as gay. This allegedly makes him the spokesman for black gay men. Not Stephen Amos – he jokes easily about how he doesn’t want to be a rôle model, never mind a spokesman. Evoking the lacklustre apologies given by spokesmen for horse meat and pork based halal scandals over the last year he convinces the audience to agree with him. And nor does it mean he’s going to become politically correct either – a good portion of the jokes include a wide variety of stereotypical accents and judgements, something Amos plays with a good level of tongue in cheek awareness.
The majority of the comedy stems from Amos speaking to the audience. While this did evolve some jokes (the play off of young and old audience members was particularly entertaining) it would probably have worked better if Amos had a bigger audience to work with. Those targeted were either a little shy or overly brash so the technique didn’t take off as it could have in the hands of a more popular comic. It is clear that he should be playing large venues, and that being stuck in smaller intimate spaces does not suit him. That’s not particularly a criticism however – the small pool from which to pull just didn’t allow Amos the range he clearly has to quite shine through. Thankfully there were a good number of scripted belly laughs to compensate (although probably not any that can be repeated on a family friendly website!).
If you take a chance on Stephen K Amos for his final night in Bradford on Saturday a word of advice – take some cash. He’s signing books and DVDs after the gig.
Runs until: Saturday 1st February, touring afterwards.