Stephen K Amos
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2004
The Time Out Best Stand-Up of 2004 muses on his life so far as a stand-up, but also aims to redress his misspent youth by learning a new skill every night - aided by very special guests
It's been said before, but it bears repeating: there's no one who can work a room quite like Stephen K Amos.
Using his immense charisma, this silver-tongued charmer will mock and cajole any audience into having a good time. He may deliver the odd cruel aside, but it's always obvious that it's a well-meaning tease rather than anything more malicious.
He's a generous performer, too, letting witty punters have their moment in the spotlight an admirable characteristic that can only comes from a well-placed confidence in his own ability.
This year's Edinburgh hour provides plenty of opportunity to demonstrate those talents, thanks to the subtle structure that underlies these partly spontaneous proceedings.
Topped and tailed with a neat theatrical conceit, Amos's loose theme is the lack of basic abilities many people possess, himself included, admitting that he couldn't even change a plug when his TV packed in.
To combat that, he's promised to learn a new skill every day of the festival, the order of the challenges chosen at random from the previous night's audience. Today's task was tap-dancing, under the tutelage of the effusive, perpetually laughing, Movin Melvin Brown, and Amos proved more than up to the occasion.
Before that, we had an episode that played up to the skills Amos doesn't need to learn -audience interaction with a silly game show that perfectly suits his friendly, unthreatening persona. Are you watching, TV people?
There's all the usual banter surrounding all this, gently mocking people for being too young, too posh, or too Australian, but it all goes towards creating an uplifting, joyful atmosphere that lingers long after you've left the venue.