Stephen K Amos: The Laughter Master - review
Emerging in a haze of smoke that refused to leave the stage, you knew immediately that Londoner Stephen K Amos was going to be a delight. Pointing to a woman in the crowd and describing her expression as saying “Make me laugh, c**t”, Amos’ opening jokes set the bar for the unabashedly foul-mouthed and borderline risqué humour to come over the next hour.
Though his material was smart, witty and had the audience in constant fits of laughter, much of the comedy early on came from the crowd’s futile attempts at contribution. On the outskirts of his attacks, you felt like a spectator at a gladiatorial match, savouring with savage delight as Amos effortlessly shot each person down turn. He moved so smoothly between his material and the impromptu attacks that it made you long for more people to speak up, just to see what further imaginative insults he would come out with.
On the outskirts of his attacks, you felt like a spectator at a gladiatorial match, savouring with savage delight as Amos effortlessly shot each person down turn.
Once the hecklers had quietened, the show took a serious turn around vaguely philosophical discussions about social media’s effect on the world, a more sombre but less captivating run. Amos pulled it back by the end, tying his world views together in a neat bow, equal parts hilarious and thought-provoking.
Aside from a few particularly British references, few jokes failed, and Amos’ wit and personality made even the darkest of subjects drip with humour. His take on how ISIS will go down in history was Blackadder-esque in its grimness, sarcasm and insight, while interrupting a monologue to rant about the smoke lingering from his entrance showcased his spontaneous wit. This was a confident and thoroughly entertaining show, one I could easily sit through again.
Stephen K Amos: The Laughter Master. April 23–24, SKYCITY Theatre. Book tickets.