When a comedy show involves a spontaneous audience-led chant of “Here’s to Stephen, he’s true-blue,” you know you are in for a fun night.
While Stephen K. Amos, to widespread disappointment, did not down his beer, he did manage to deliver his patent blend of spontaneous, warm humour on the third night of the 11th annual Sydney Comedy Festival.
The moment he entered, to thunderous applause, his comfort on the stage, earned through years of experience, was obvious. The cheeky smile, the wave – the man oozed easy self-assurance, which has always been his bit.
His routine was funny enough, but it was his audience interaction and improvisation that truly made the show come alive. While his jokes were not always the most original; a British comedian complaining about Australian mannerisms – ground breaking, his charm made sure we were all laughing anyway. His lightning responses and ability to mercilessly riff off the audience while still remaining very likeable made the show a light-hearted delight. The intimate setting of the Enmore encouraged this and made the show feel, in the best way possible, like a fun boozy night at a comedy bar.
Amos definitely had some things to say about the state of Australian politics at the moment. Political comedy has always been a part of his act – he’s spoken about his life as a gay, black, English man very openly in the past and his honesty is always refreshing. While not quite as politically charged as his other acts have been in the past, his roast of Tony Abbott was ruthless and his comparison of our PM’s gaffs to Prince Phillip had the audience in hysterics. He made a point of celebrating the LGBT individuals in the audience and spoke a lot about his upbringing – his impressions of his mother are legendary and definitely did not disappoint.
Amos does not deal in edgy, shocking humour. But if you are looking for a frivolous, feel-good night, in the hands of one of the most charming comedians on the scene, then this is your gig.
His act was not revolutionary; some of jokes I’d heard before, and they weren’t all side-splitters. I didn’t care. He won us over from the start – we wanted to laugh with him.
As he responded when told that Tony Abbot had skolled his beer when prompted by the same chant, “That makes all the difference.”