Stephen K Amos: 'When it descends into abuse, you've lost the argument'
- Brian Donaldson
- 6 February 2019
Stalwart of the comedy scene discusses his new show Bouquets And Brickbats
The crowd-pleasing comedy juggernaut that is Stephen K Amos is currently on tour with Bouquets And Brickbats, a show about personal loss and the miserable state of the planet. Here, he tells us about talking on stage about the recent deaths of both his mother and twin sister, and what keeps him staying positive.
What's behind the Bouquets And Brickbats title?
I picked that because the last 18 months have been awful both personally for me and in the whole world at large. Some things are so joyful and joyous on one hand, and on the other, so devastating. So I was trying to find a way of saying that some days are rosy and other days are downright shitty.
How has it been to talk about losing close family members in your stand-up?
I never thought I could do something like this, as my whole thing has been to keep them laughing and not to hold the silence. But I've now found out that it's more powerful to hold the silence. That whole thing about losing people and death is a long bit in the show and there's a silence in the room where you can hear a penny drop. For me, that is a bit weird.
Britain is a deeply divided country right now. Has this had any impact on your stand-up?
I was doing a late-night show at last year's Edinburgh Fringe with a mixed line-up, and a very well-respected comic just slammed down a woman who admitted that she had voted for Brexit. I thought that wasn't very fair because people are entitled to their own opinions and instead of tackling this in a creative way you've just slagged her off and made sure that she will never admit to anything like that again in any situation. I think we should be able to sit down and discuss things like adults. When it descends into abuse, you've lost the argument.
How do you manage to stay positive these days?
I get my positivity from human beings. Something good happens on a daily basis: a text from someone, a stranger doing something nice for you on the street or someone just saying something positive. Sometimes people have come up to me after this show with tears in their eyes or wearing a badge for Breast Cancer or something and it's about being touched by other people's stories. I haven't really had time to stop and take stock and think. It's all about going out there and listening to people's laughter or their reactions to what I'm saying. At one show, one lad felt confident to tell me at being out and proud at the age of 15; that's something I couldn't have done. Those moments make it all worthwhile.
Stephen K Amos: Bouquets And Brickbats is on tour until Sat 16 Feb.