Stephen K Amos: Find The Funny
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2008
A firm favourite at the Edinburgh Festival selling out shows year after year, the inimitable Stephen K Amos is back for his seventh time with his new show.
Stephen K Amos isn’t the sort of act who necessarily excites hardcore comedy fans, but his unceasing ability to turn on the charm and bang out the funnies ensure he’s a surefire bet for a night of laughter.
In his last two shows, Amos ventured into the autobiographical – although his reluctance to entirely leave his safety zone of the compere-like banter in which he excels held him back from producing something truly brilliant.
This time around, he has no such ambition. He’s happy to boast that there’s no message, no theme, no pathos, just lots of laughs. A notary is appointed to keep tally of exactly how many, and by the end no one can complain they haven’t had their fill. Forget the critics and their stars, Amos has the documentary evidence to prove just how funny he is.
Amos excels at conversing with the audience, and tonight’s feisty crowd offers him plenty of ammunition, his easy riffing and gentle mocking keeping everyone in their place and the joke-counter busy. He entertains himself as much as the audience, laughing freely at the situation. Overacting and shameless mugging is a perpetual risk, but he reins it in enough not to be too much of a distraction.
When he finally gets around to material, he doesn’t look far for inspiration, with routines on the likes of TV talent shows or the lo-tech upbringing of his generation. He has fun with his own fuddy-duddiness, and there are a few nice lines in the mix, but as usual it’s his immense warmth and likeability that carry the show. He boastfully mentions his jet-setting travels rather a lot, but we forgive him – however passing off a well-known urban myth as a true story is more galling.
Despite his earlier promise, he does tag on a rather saccharine ‘laugh at life, make connections with people’ moral at the end of the show. Few comics could get away with such cheese, but Amos has the uncynical charisma to pull it off. But it’s not really the message, just a way to draw an evening of light-hearted banter and playful observations to a satisfying close.
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett