Photo of Stephen K. Amos

Stephen K. Amos: Oxymoron
Cheltenham Town Hall – 18th January 2024

Any comedian that can crash his Porsche in the morning and then walk out on to the stage in the evening, to be confronted by an audience in hats, scarves & coats and remain unperturbed, obviously has the secret code to his art! Admitting he had only just arrived in Regency Cheltenham, due to his accident, Stephen K. Amos set about warming the room up as only he knows how…

The comedian’s immediate family – “with seven f*cking kids” – have been a constant source of material over the years. Following the last two difficult years Amos’s familial observations have produced many skits due to his “knob” of a Father. (Yes, “who does demand cheese on toast for breakfast every day!”) The notion that Dad sent 60 year old Stephen to bed and “he went” soon raised the temperature due to approving claps of applause at the comedian’s plight and timing.

Working an audience and engaging with individuals requires a codebreaker’s skill. Effortlessly, Mr. Amos drew on Ellie and Harry to inspire streams of comedic consciousness. Sarah and Dave did much of the heavy lifting and Dave’s spontaneous mime-heckle and swift-comeback triggered appreciative comments from the comedian and unbridled laughter from the ever warming crowd.

The “unrehearsed” and free-form first half gave way to the titled show:  Oxymoron. The premise of the show was the oxymoronic elements within the mores of modern life…

Who here has attempted to order food in a restaurant to be betrayed, teased and befuddled by the technology and the systems in place? Amos explored his humorous connivance with a comedian’s eye for the audience’s life experience.

The section which focused on social media and the egregious responses on line by people you have never met, hit you in the face like the cold night air. The unfiltered responses Amos read out to his own innocent posts sent a chill of recognition around the room.

The comedian is not one to shy away from the contrasting views of sexuality. The focus was amplified by the anecdote from his Australian tour, where he had attempted to explore modern, contradictory perspectives on sexual preferences, which included the punchline…“you’ll need to go to Sidney for that shit.” Ok, people didn’t throw their hats in the air, they couldn’t, but the laughter rose like warm air currents above Bondi beach.

Our comedian knew, like we knew, he had undertaken an excellent night’s work for the audience. Consequently, his guard was lowered and the time-served jester spoke honestly about his first comedy gig that did not go so well. The resultant scene, after that dismal show, with the old lady clutching her hand bag as he drunkenly staggered towards her, “pushed my buttons” and the lie at the end of the joke had me laughing for most of the next day. As he made his way from the stage he must have been drunk with satisfaction. I am sure Cheltenham Town Hall will no doubt take the satisfying decision to never organise a night of entertainment in January without knowing the code for the Pillar room’s heating system. An air-cooled Porsche is acceptable, however…

By: Nicholas David Burford

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