Friday, August 7

Interview: Stephen K Amos

- September 24, 2018


Star of stand up, BBC Radio, BBC television, podcasts, and general darling – Stephen K Amos speaks exclusively with Victoria Nangle about working with Jonathan Harvey, happy surprises, confidence in mankind, and turning invisible!

Hello dear Stephen, and how are you faring today?
Hi, today I am feeling most agreeable. A couple of days downtime is great to recharge the batteries.

It’s great to hear that you’re touring a new show – how are the work in progress shows going at the Edinburgh Fringe?
Edinburgh is always a great way to run in and test some ideas. The fringe audiences are some of the best in the world. Surrounded by a buzz of creativity in various genres, they know what they want.

You also have a Talk Show up there – please say that you’re picking up new friends and contacts to guest on another series of Life: An Idiot’s Guide.
How much do you prep for your interviews, considering how renowned you are for mining mirth jewels when you talk to your audiences?

I’ve been doing a live Talk Show in Edinburgh for a number of years now. It’s a great way to fill the days while at the fringe and an opportunity to do something different to straight stand up. I also get a chance to talk to my friends and meet other performers. I do research with my amazing producer, always avoiding Wikipedia though! It’s a lot of fun when you surprise a guest with a fact or funny story about them. Idiots Guide, may come back, in fact I think it’s a great idea for a TV show. However the Talk Show, series has just been released on Audible, currently No1 comedy in Audible Australia. The second series will come out later in the year.
Does a Brighton audience stand out to you as any different to those you engage with on the rest of your tour?
I love Brighton and I have fond memories of playing various comedy clubs there over the years. Notably the Komedia, one of the best in the country. I remember fondly the Theatre Royal and having local boy Seann Walsh as my tour support years ago! Look at him now! I even went for a drink with Chris Eubank who was in the audience!

I always enjoy your work with BBC radio. How did you find it writing collaboratively with Jonathan Harvey on What Does The K Stand For?
I’ve been a long time admirer of Jonathan Harvey and his work. Many years ago, we said it’d be fun to do something together. The series was initially based on my book ‘I Used To Say My Mother Was Shirley Baddey’. Thankfully we have a very similar sense of humour and he has a great way of injecting pathos and drama into a funny situation. Hopefully, we’ll get to work on another project again soon.

I remember fondly the Theatre Royal and having local boy Seann Walsh as my tour support years ago!

Will there be new series of either of these, or anything new in the works that I can look forward to hearing you trip the airwaves with?
I’m currently working on a show for BBC2, which I’ll reveal soon. I’m also making a pilot for American TV. We’re currently editing the second season of the Talk Show and in negotiations for an audio book. Plus, I’m touring extensively across Europe, UK, Australia and the US. So… very busy and mustn’t grumble! I’m just humbled and grateful that people seem to like what I do.

Last time we spoke (a few years ago) it was your birthday and you sounded delighted, having been brought breakfast in bed. What was the last treat you received that you didn’t expect?
My nephew made me a mug in his pottery class at school which was very special and totally unexpected. Breakfast in bed seems like such a distant memory now. If I want a surprise treat, I’d have to do it myself!

Your shows manage to combine a genuine warmth without ignoring the topical challenges in the world. How tricky is it to maintain that balance, considering the current political climate?
It’s always a fine line for me as I try to navigate the stresses in the world and my desire to put on a laughter filled show. However, we are constantly changing and for me the last 4 years have been pretty intense. I’m now questioning a lot of things and finding another level of comedy. As long as I have a connection with the audience, then we’re heading in the right direction.

Who or what keeps you smiling in the face of adversity?
Never losing faith in your fellow man. The good overwhelming outweighs the bad. Yes things are sent to try us, yes we will experience hurt and pain. We all have a story to tell and it depends on how you react to things.

Finally – you have a superpower for one day only. What is it and what adventure will you have with it?
I’d like to be invisible. Then I could go anywhere in the world. Sneak into pharmaceutical laboratories, into banks, into tech companies and governments around the globe. My mission would be to find out all the things they aren’t telling us. Reset the balance sheets, expose secrets and lies. This rich earth of ours can give us so much more.

Stephen K Amos: Bouquets and Brickbats, Komedia, Tuesday 13 November, 8pm, £29/17.50,

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