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Stephen takes the bouquets and brickbats; After suffering personal loss, Stephen K Amos is looking on the funny side of life... and death. He talks to DAVE FREAK.

Byline: DAVE FREAK

TEPHEN K Amos describes his latest tour as his "most personal yet''.

SEntitled Bouquets and Brickbats, it finds the South London comedian exploring life's ups and downs.

"It does exactly what it says on the tin as it's basically me recounting some of the things that have gone on over the last 18 months or so, in life in general," he says during a Christmas break from touring.

"There are some good times, ie.

bouquets, flowers; and there are the curveballs, the brickbats that life throws at you - be it Brexit, or falling out with people, be it change of circumstance or even dealing with loss."

It's not, however, an autobiographical show. Far from it "When I do a comedy show my aim is to go for a high laughter rate, and hopefully throw in some little nuggets of thought, to get people thinking about a few things, but not to over flag-post them.

''But before this particular tour a couple of things happened, which I'm touching on, which got quite serious, which is quite a departure for me and also quite a challenge, to get the audience still laughing at those subjects."

Among those subjects is death. Having lost both his mother and sister in a short period of time, "real heartfelt loss" is touched upon, yet Amos is quick to point out that even though he struggled with "really sad times" he recognises many in the audience also have their own stories, and it's proof of his considerable skill that he continues to keep the chuckles coming throughout. As they say... laughter is the best medicine.

"That was the title of one of my earlier tours and little did I know that that would become so so so apparent - particularly when I do this routine in this show.

''People are deadly silent, and you hear gasps, then at the end you can hear them all laugh again, and some people have shouted out at various venues, 'laughter is the best medicine,' which is so weird."

Alongside his live appearances, which includes a trip to Coventry, Amos is releasing the second series of his podcast online.

Recorded at the Edinburgh Fringe and featuring such guests as US comics Janeane Garofalo, Myq Kaplan, Ari Shaffir and UK impressionist Jon Culshaw, it sees a slight change of tact from his previous run.

"With this series I'm trying to get people's opinions on what's happening in the world, the boundaries of comedy and what ignited people's passions. It's kind of free reign, but we edit it like a TV show."

There's also a new series for BBC Two entitled Pilgrimage: The Road To Rome due on screens soon, which sees Amos and a group of celebs attempt to complete the challenging 1000km Via Francigena Pilgrimage, starting in the Swiss Alps and concluding in St Peter's Square, Rome.

"It's myself and seven others retracing a Roman Catholic pilgrimage with some very, very, very interesting consequences," he teases. Lesley Joseph is in it, Olympian Greg Rutherford, Les Dennis, former Eurovision singer and Irish politician Dana, she's in it, and Brendon Cole."

Also on the team are fellow comedian Katy Brand, and blogger turned presenter Mehreen Baig.

"We're discussing religion, I suppose, with people who are religious or who have strong views on religion, and the pay-off is very, very good - but I'm not allowed to say what that is."

Yet while he enjoys simply being himself, Amos is also keen to reignite his acting career.

"I'd like to explore more acting opportunities having had the pleasure of performing in various plays in Edinburgh and in the West End, which is a very different discipline," says the comedian, whose screen credits includes a bit part in David Bowie movie Absolute Beginners.

''At present, a nice sitcom role would be great, but what he really longs for is something a little meatier, a brickbat if you will: "I'd like to play a baddy in some real serious drama."

?Stephen K Amos: Bouquets and Brickbats is at Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, on Saturday, January 26. For tickets and more information call 024 7652 4524 or visit www.warwickartscentre.co.uk
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 4, 2019
Words:696
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