Stephen K Amos – More of Me ****
PLEASANCE COURTYARD (VENUE 33)
LAST year, Stephen K Amos’s Fringe show – entitled All of Me – certainly lived up to the billing: at the end of the performance, Amos came out publicly. The journey to that point was a tortuous one, but it continues to provide the comedian with ample stand-up material, as the title of this year’s show suggests.
But before any Oprah-style soul-baring there is good ol’ raucous humour in the form of Amos’s latest alter ego, a jive-talking, wig-wearing badass priest named the Reverend Jesse “Aloisha” Jones. The audience can hardly catch its breath before the reverend tears into the “sinners” in the front rows and compares himself to Jesus: “He was persecuted. I’ve been… prosecuted. He was stoned. I’ve been…”
When the real Amos emerges after ten minutes with Rev Jones, the audience interaction continues. A “finance director” in the second row has a torrid time, but sympathy must go out to a 16-year-old called Bob for being a bit posh and for being there with his mum and dad. Cue jokes about class, sex and masturbation that would make any adolescent shrivel in their seat, whether accompanied by the folks or not. One can only imagine the put-down potential had Amos only spotted the ubiquitous Neil and Christine Hamilton, who had wisely seated themselves near the back of the venue.
There isn’t any specific concept behind Amos’s show, he simply talks and jokes about the subjects close to the heart of a black gay second-generation immigrant. So racism, sexuality and religion are obvious targets, but Amos also mocks America, Australia and even (brave man that he is) Scotland.
The confessional stuff comes later, but even then Amos never neglects his responsibility to make us laugh. There is a nervous silence when he first breaches the topic of his homosexuality, but his honesty and self-deprecating humour make him a hugely likeable character, even inducing a few mothering “awww”s from certain females in attendance.
With such a turbulent personal history Amos has many sacred cows to slaughter, but his fuel-injected comedic brain ensures that the show is both redemptive and achingly funny.
Until 27 August. Today 9.40pm