Thursday, 16 June 2016

INTERVIEW with Stephen K Amos

STEPHEN K Amos is a cheerful soul, hilariously funny - both on and off stage - and has an almost permanent cheeky glint in his eye.
However the South London comedian admits that there are a few things that get his goat, and social media is one of them.
And it is this that has inspired his latest show which he will bring to the Balham Comedy Festival on July 9.
“It’s all about the horrible and inflamatory things that people are prepared to say online despite the threats of legal action,” he says.
“People can be incredibly horrible. They use abuse to enter discussions with people they don’t know.
“They create a faceless profile just to have a go and give an opinion, thinking they have the right to say this stuff. And they always seem to stay just on the right legal side of being offensive.
“I find it fascinating but also concerning that this kind of thing goes on and I feel I need to challenge the view that it’s OK to do this stuff - and get away with it.”
Obviously rather than join in Stephen prefers to stay very much on the sidelines and says he just likes to watch it all unfold. And although he has a Twitter account he says it is run by a team on his behalf.
“I have no desire whatsoever to get involved in discussions with people I don’t know and who don’t know me,” he stresses.
“I think social media has become an unfortunate way people get sidetracked by nonsense. By all means have an informed opinion but not a knee jerk reaction to something. Things should all be based on truth.
“It’s just a marketing tool,” he adds. “The glory for me is that there is block button.”
So has he ever had to use it himself? He chuckles again.
“Once or twice perhaps. I did something on TV last week and certain people didn’t like the show but when they complained about it they included me in the tweets. That was annoying!”
I suggest it sounds like a serious subject on which to base a comedy show and Stephen acknowledges it with a chuckle.
“Yes true, but there is of course a flip side to all this and there are positives to be gained and things to learn from social media,” he says.
“In the show there will be numerous, hopefully funny and amusing anecdotes as a way of highlighting the issues, and so if you come and see the show I hope you may think about it perhaps in a different way.
“It actually took shape when I was in Australia for a three month tour and I’ve been tweaking it since then. So for those who come and see it will get a sneak peak at what will be in my forthcoming UK tour so it’s very exciting.”
And he says he's very happy to be bringing the show to the Balham Comedy Festival, an event now in its fifth year and one he has performed at before. Indeed he speaks with a real fondness for it.
“It’s a great festival and I don’t live far from there so that’s a real bonus,” he says warmly. “I’ve done it before and loved it, it’s so well organised. They always put on a great event and I had a great time last year.
“It’s also a venue I’ve known for many years. The people here are great and it’s one of the best comedy rooms in the country.
“So it’s a joy to be coming back and I’m looking forward to seeing what people think about the show,” he adds chuckling.
“It’s also nice to play intimate venues. You don’t necessarily want to see the whites of peoples eyes but you learn good skills when you do smaller venues.
“I like the audience to be tentative and wonder what I'm going to do or say next. I also like the banter with the audience - it lets the audience know I'm in the moment.
“In a smaller area you can explore different things and hear the happiness in the room.
“And of course you can have fun and be a bit more playful than you can in a larger venue where you really just need to get the audience on side as soon as possible!
"So I'm sure we are going to have a good time at Balham!"

Stephen K Amos is at the Balham Comedy Festival on Saturday, July 9. Visit for full listings.

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