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Review: Stephen K Amos — Welcome To My World at Leeds City Varieties

London comic isn't afraid to tackle the tough topics in lively show

Stephen K Amos

"Hello, West Yaaaaarkshire!"

Stephen K Amos has a thing for adopting accents — and I have to admit, his Yorkshire wasn't half bad (it did go a little bit Scouse in places but I'll let that go).

And he's certainly not afraid to tackle the pricklier topics in his shows.

Last night's routine at Leeds City Varieties included the multicultural melting pot, racism in unexpected places (including at his show in Somerset and at a fish 'n' chip shop in Torquay), segregated black jelly babies in Australia and where the line is between racism and humour.

As a friend commented to me in the interval, he "got away with murder" with some of the controversial jokes told — but the audience revelled in the awkward, sometimes shocking stand-up he brought to the show.

There was nothing overtly offensive in his material — but as Amos pointed out, there's so many topics the British instinctively avoid that to hear them being discussed openly can be a bit of a shock.

But his confidence, and ability to build a rapport with an audience with ease, meant we were happy to follow him down the path of 'dinner party conversation killers'.

The show wasn't all about controversy however — Amos wasted no time in picking out a few choice audience members, bemoaning the Leeds one way system and harassing a handful of latecomers.

While not all exchanges paid off, his handling of more stilted moments was pure professional — at one point he literally had the room roaring with laughter... at absolutely nothing.

Being a fan of his Radio 4 comedy What Does The K Stand For?, I was also thrilled to hear anecdotes about his Nigerian parents and family life. As soon as he adopted the accent I was in hysterics.

The only part of the show that jarred, for me at least (my boyfriend rather enjoyed it) was a segment where he tested material for his new television show.

While it's common for comics to test new jokes on tour audiences, his reading of the skits directly from notes he'd brought with him just seemed a bit slapdash. The delivery was affected and it was a break from his confident, riffing style.

But overall, Welcome To My World was a funny, surprising show (I don't think anyone saw the anecdote about being stuck in traffic and needing the loo coming...). At one point, the audience even had Amos in stitches, after his discovery of the Yorkshire tradition of meat raffles and the phrase 'wang it' (meaning, of course, to throw something away).

Stephen is heading to Spalding, Didcot and Norwich before a stint at London's Soho Theatre in March — catch him if you can!

Tour dates can be found here.

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