Interview by Graham Finney
To describe the last eighteen months as challenging for comedian Stephen K.Amos would be an understatement. His latest stand-up show, Bouqets And Brickbats, started a couple of days ago so, before things kicked off in ernest for Stephen, we had a chat to him about the show, the last eighteen months and the future.
So Stephen, thanks for your time. First date of the tour was yesterday, how did it go?
“It went really well. I was in Birmingham and met some really nice people and, yes, it is nice to be out on the road touring again. I’m having a nice quiet night though tonight.”
The title of the tour is based what was a rollercoaster eighteen months. Was it difficult to write a show not only inspired by what you’ve been through but given the actual events actually write comedy at all?
“You know, at the time I just wanted to write a comedy show but i wasn’t sure I wanted to really write at all. There has been so much going on in the world both good and bad but then, on top of that, I went through the tragedy of losing two people who were really important to me. When I started to write the show I wanted people to be able to connect with what I was talking about so there some social commentary in there also. The thing that I realised when I was writing the show is that everybody out there goes through good things and bad things and, at the end of the day, everybody has their own story.”
As you’ve just said, there is a big element of social commentry in the show. Given the tour is taking you into next year, will you have to constantly change the show to give you opinions on the current topics?
“I will have to yes so I’ll always be keeping up to date with the current goings on. One of the things I enjoy doing is going out on tour and being able to talk to people and get their thought and their opinions on the important topics. Some people out there believe everything is left and right, black and white and it’s not. Everyone is different and, given that it is so easy to say what you want on social media these days, it’s good to be able to get people to talk about these things.”
The obvious subjects these days are Brexit and Donald Trump. I spoke to a comedian recently who said it was getting boring writing material about the two subjects because they are so easy to write about and everything had already been written about them both. Would you agree with that?
“I wouldn’t say boring, it’s just that, with the availability of information on the internet and social media, it’s all out there for everyone to see. I mean I could sit and write about Donald Trump’s tweets but they’re already out there. I don’t need to tell people because everybody can see them. Like I said, I like to get people involved and get their thoughts and opinions on what is affecting their lives. I saw a comedian recently and they berated this woman because of her view on Brexit. I didn’t think that was right because everyone has their own opinion and it’s not their place to berate someone because of that.”
Away from the obvious tragedy of the last eighteen months, what have been the high points?
“Well, I get to go out on tour and travel around saying exactly what I want to people. I’ve also got a talk show on Audible. That is my job! How amazing is it that I get the chance to do that?”
You’ve said one of the elements of touring you like is getting out meeting people in different places. Outside of the UK, are there any places you’ve been to where you’ve thought wow, we thought us Brits had it bad?
“You know, a couple of weeks ago I came back from a tour of Europe and there are some places where people are living under these terrible conditions like eastern Europe. I played a show in Estonia recently and fifteen hundred people came out to see the show and they are living under some awful conditions and hardships.”
Given that your show is going to take you out on the road for a good part of next year will you have time for any other plans?
“I have quite a bit lined-up for next year including another series of my show which was recorded up in Edinburgh coming out on Audible in the New Year which I’m really looking forward to. I’ve got a few other bits lined-up and also I’m in talks at the moment about doing a show in America which is really exciting so, yes, a quiet year for me [laughs].”
If you could invite four people to a Xmas dinner who would you invite?
“I’d invite Nelson Mandela to ask him how he can be so forgiving after spending twenty-seven years of his life locked up for his beliefs. I’d invite the Queen to ask her what it feels like to have all that untold wealth and privilege purely from being born into it and also what her real thoughts are on politics and what is going on. I’d invite either the Dahlia Lama or Mother Theresa to ask them how they can be so pure and not want to resort to violence. Finally, I think I would ask John Mayorga, the actor, to find out how an inner city boy who came from Nigerian parents went from wanting to be an actor to now be playing the lead role in one of the biggest movie franchises in the world.”
Thanks for your time Stephen and good luck with the tour. Finally, we’re heading into 2019 what are your hopes and goals for the year ahead?
“I think that we’ve become, not so much intolerant but, with the growth in social media, it allows us to say what we want to whoever we want. I think for the year ahead I would hope that people become more empathetic to other people.”
Find out where Stephen is playing here