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Stephen K Amos’ 2018 Melbourne International Comedy Festival show ‘Bread and Circuses’ steals inspiration from distractions of old, where food and entertainment were used to keep the masses under control… just like The Bachelorette does nowadays.

Luckily Amos is a wonderful distraction for an evening, and delivers another vivid performance.

Amos has staples across his shows, as all good comedians do. He has a brilliant accent when imitating his father – a Nigerian accent stopping short of being a stereotype purely because that’s what his family really do sound like – and his penchant for mocking the audience, and these familiar notes are highlights on top of a great set of new jokes and stories.

Audience interaction was at an all time high during this show, with Amos criticising anyone who didn’t laugh hard enough or fast enough, even repeating some of his more cerebral jokes to ensure he got the laughter he expected.

One member of the audience from Bacchus Marsh became a recurring joke, Amos not believing it to be a real place, then mangling the name as he continued to refer back to the audience member to ensure his jokes were hitting at a level they could understand.

Amos mentioned recent superhero film Black Panther as being impressive, in terms of putting black actors in the spotlight, but continues on to criticise Hollywood’s history with racial issues. While most people may consider discussions like this to be non-comedic, it can be important to focus on race issues in the entertainment industry, and who better to discuss it than a Nigerian Englishman in Australia.

Plus, he rounds the show out with a joke about being in the middle of a Hemsworth-brother Vegemite sandwich (and oh, wouldn’t we all delight in that), so clearly he knows the line between comedy and heavy-hitting societal commentary.

Amos is an extremely well-rounded performer and broaches multiple topics, well worth a viewing this year.

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