At this year's Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Stephen K. Amos talks about the tough stuff in life in his show 'What Does the K Stand For?'. From sex, to religion, to opinions on the potential for our future ‘melting pot’ society, ‘What Does the K Stand For?’ actually has little to do with the K itself, and is instead a whirlwind journey through some of Amos’ hilariously presented tales.
Dressed in a simple t-shirt and jeans, Amos can be unassuming just to look at, until he opens his mouth. Throughout the one hour show, Amos mocks himself, his family, and his stories, but also Australia, Australians, and the Australian way, which can make the show a little offensive unless you have a comedic heart – as you really should. Many of his stories have been gathered from his past visits to the country: he talks highly of the wisdom of taxi drivers and the ease with which you can mock a 'bog-ahn’ (his patented way of referring to our classiest citizens) and his tales are therefore amazingly relatable, and a joy to experience.
While he can at some points get easily derailed by heckling – particularly if he finds it entertaining – he can always pull himself back on track, returning instantly a joke he may have stopped telling five minutes ago just so he could laugh at an audience member’s name. Of particular note is his method of dealing with unfunny heckling – by using his exquisite wit to turn the heckle around onto the audience member, he drags laughs out of everyone else in the room. Similarly, he has quite a skill in making up for jokes that have fallen a little flat: at one point he mocked another country for having meat raffles, only to be told by the audience that we hold them here, and clearly don’t find them as funny as he does. Amos’ spot on imitation of an Australian accent and our general demeanour turned the joke from a failure to a laugh riot, as only he can.
It must be said, the nature of the show can be a little confronting at times, given that he is making a point of talking about taboo topics. However, it isn’t an offensive night, instead it allows the kind of dinner party conversation that we never get to have, if our dinner parties are all narrated by an enthusiastic and incredibly vulgar funnyman.
(And, by the end of the show, he does in fact tell us what the K stands for. However, after the entertainment of the night, the answer hardly matters.)