Date/TimeApril 4, 2012 - 7:30pm
VenueMelbourne Town Hall
ArtistsStephen K Amos
Price$42.50 $39.50 conc. See below for more info.
Acclaimed comic Stephen K Amos is set to take Melbourne International Comedy Festival by storm with a brand new show: Laughter Is My Agenda. Funnily enough, according to Amos, that wasn’t always the case. The comic initially possessed an entirely different focus growing up. “To be terribly honest, I was on a path to becoming a lawyer and what I wanted to do was work in the Citizens’ Advice Bureau, which basically is a free service for people who can’t really afford legal defense,” he reveals. “I was quite keen on looking after the man who couldn’t afford to take on big giants of industry who were sticking them because of some contractual thing. Thankfully, I moved away from that and in a weird way I’m still providing a service to people, but this time it’s to make them laugh.”
Of course, as most stand-up comics will attest, that’s easier said than done. These days, Amos is able to ascertain his chances of success before the curtain has even been raised. “You can always tell, before you go on stage, if it's going to be a good crowd and if they're going to be up for it,” he explains. “Hopefully within thirty seconds, I'd have told a massive joke and for the next ten minutes kept them laughing. Then they trust you and you can literally do whatever you want - like a conductor, conducting an orchestra. If you win them and they trust you, you can go wherever you want.”
It’s a privilege unique to Amos’ profession and one he believes other comics should embrace wholeheartedly. “I personally believe that every single comic has a duty. You've got a captive audience and I don't know any other profession where you can say exactly what you want at work. The last bastion of free-speech is comedy and I think everyone should be allowed to say what they want,” he muses. “The thing is, as much as you can say what you want, the audience is also allowed to react the way they want... so you have to be able to back up what you say.”
Amos’ musings on the art of stand-up have accumulated over a marvellously successful career. Concerning the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, at least, Amos has become an established favourite. In fact, his most recent show, Best Medicine, was a bonafide hit, with sell-out seasons throughout 2011. Amos might have well and truly hit the big time, but the comic confesses to remain a student of stand-up. “You always grow as a comic. It takes a while to find your own voice. I think personally it took me probably five years, doing comedy on a regular basis, to find my own voice. I'm a very different comic to what I was four years ago and four years before that and again before that.”
This time around, Amos is more assured than ever and armed with an agenda. Of course, his show’s bound to have gags, guffaws and punchlines aplenty, but Amos has even more in mind. “If I can bring the issues that are important to me to the forefront, but still in the guise of comedy, then that's what I'm doing.”
BY NICK MASON
Stephen K Amos performs Laughter Is My Agenda at Melbourne Town Hall from Thursday March 29 until Sunday April 14 (except Monday April 2 and Wednesday April 11, with the Thursday April 12 performance taking place at Frankston Arts Centre, 8pm), then from Friday April 20 until Sunday April 22. Tickets $42.50/$39.50, preview and Tightarse Tuesdays $35 from Ticketmaster online, 1300 660 013 and at the door.
Comedy Festival website