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Stephen K Amos

Note: This review is from 2005

Review by Steve Bennett

Stephen K Amos has called his show 100 Greatest Things Ever – and if that’s not a job application to front the next barrel-dredging Channel 4 list show, I don’t know what is.

Or perhaps, rather than trying to relaunch Amos as some sort of black Jimmy Carr – he’s just way too likeable for that - this is simply the bland ‘anyone remember Spangles?’ brand of observational humour taken to its logical conclusion. Just list 100 things and hope people recognise at least some of them and laugh.

Parts of the show, especially towards the start, are actually like that. Amos is so charismatically entertaining that maybe someone told him he could get laughs from reading out the telephone directory – so reciting his list is his attempt to test that proposition.

Of course, it’s not long before this most talented and gregarious of audience-baiters is teasing his acolytes with the sort of banter that serves him so well at Late n Live. He is, of course, very good at it – even if some of his lines have served him well for many a year. To paraphrase one of them, he’s got comebacks older than some of his younger punters.

This is one of a couple of factors that makes it seem as if Amos is coasting - trusting his irresistible likeability to see him through. Few people coast as elegantly as he does, admittedly, but as a show it feels lacking.

Some of the routines randomly allocated to the numbers on his giant 1 to 100 bingo card also have an air of familiarity; none more so than telling of the shock of waking up to find the beauty you pulled in a drunken party is more of a beast.

But there is good stuff here, too, some quick, smart jokes and some entertaining anecdotes from his travels. There is no denying he has an eye for the funny, and a winningly flamboyant and good-natured way of telling them.

He’s also roped in some fellow comics, from Arthur Smith to Simon Amstell, to provide talking head inserts, just like the real 100 Greatests. And, of course, this self-professed jester is nothing if not a showman so he brings the hour to a satisfying, upbeat conclusion.

It’s a happy show, and one you can’t fail to enjoy on some level. But, as he has proven in past years, he’s capable of harnessing his natural energy to create something more substantial than this.

Review date: 1 Jan 2005
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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