AUSTRALIA can’t get enough of Stephen K. Amos, but there’s one thing he wants to clear up.
“I met an Australian outside a show in London a few days ago,” he says. “And he just went ‘Oh my God, I didn’t know you lived in England!’ Of course I live in England! When I’m in Australia I tend to do a lot of television shows in a short space of time, and they get shown throughout the year, so people assume I actually live in Australia and everything is live.”
While television appearances will likely feature, a new stand-up show is the main reason for the Londoner’s visit this time around. “My new show is full of belly laughs and I like to throw a couple of things out into the audience to get their reactions,” he says.
“If anything happens in the audience or the venue and it’s funny or worthwhile I’ll run with it. The show is tentatively entitled ‘What Does The K Stand For?’ and it will basically answer all the questions that people ask me. I get asked the same sort of things that anyone would get asked; if someone has a funny name, looks a different way, is from a different place, or has different religious points of view and beliefs. I also get asked if I’m in a relationship, so I’ll be talking about break-ups and make-ups. I’ll also be looking at mortality, as I’ve done some calculations and worked out that I’m halfway through my life already.”
While generally known for his black humour and observational comedy, Amos’ new material is of a more personal nature than anything he’s performed before. “I was dumped rather grandly a couple of years ago. I didn’t see it coming at all, and I was given those ‘it’s stopped being fun’ and ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ lines. I thought it was all bullshit and crap, and I’m sure a lot of other people have been through that as well. We’ve all had relationships and know what it’s like to be loved and fall out of love. One of the questions I ask is, ‘is it better to be the dumper or the dumpee?’ I never seek permission from any of the people I talk about on stage. It’s up to me; if I was involved, that makes it my story.”
When asked if he has any regrets about switching from a potential career in law to one in comedy, the 43-year-old answers strongly. “Comedy is the one job in the world I can think of where you can say exactly what you want. There are no set regulations or compliance laws.
“With being a lawyer, the chances are you’ll be defending someone you know to be guilty or cross-examining someone you know to be innocent. It always makes me laugh when I see people’s Twitter accounts and they have ‘these views are my own’ on there. Oh, really? You had to put that there? Do we not all have a personal life any more? You’ll never see me saying anything like that. If I go to my bank manager to ask about a loan or something, they’ll tell me what the bank wants them to tell me. If you come see my show, I’m not going to tell you what you might think I’m going to tell you, I’m going to tell you what I want.”
Despite not actually living here, Amos keeps an eye out for anything topical he can add to his Australian shows, while avoiding other aspects of tour life. “I did shows last year in Australia, just at the moment when the battle for leadership between Rudd and Gillard was happening. That was such good fun as it was so ridiculous. I still can’t believe Julia Gillard was challenged for her leadership and they took it to a vote; only in Australia could this happen.
“When I’m doing festivals overseas a lot of comedians tend to hang out together. Bearing in mind that doing a festival means you’re away from home and loved ones, so the only people you know well are the people you’ve worked with for a number of years. The one thing we don’t do, which would be very annoying, is to sit around trying to out-joke each other. That would be unbearable. I’m currently on tour in the UK now, and finishing in February. I’m doing another radio series at the same time, and putting the final pieces together for the tour in Australia. After that, it’s back to the UK for another show, then a tour of America.”
Stephen K. Amos has the following Australian shows:
Feb 12-16, 18-20 – Adelaide Fringe at The Governor Hindmarsh
Feb 26-28, Mar 1-2, 4-10 – Brisbane Comedy Festival at the Powerhouse Theatre
Mar 12-16 – Adelaide Fringe at The Arts Theatre
Mar 17 – Adelaide Fringe at The Governor Hindmarsh
Mar 23 – Geelong Performing Arts Centre
Mar 24 – Frankston Arts Centre
Mar 28-30, April 1-6, 8-13, 15-21 – Melbourne International Comedy Festival Athenaeum Theatre
May 9-11 – Sydney Comedy Festival at Enmore Theatre
May 16-18 – Perth Comedy Festival at Astor Main Space