THE reason behind the title of Stephen K Amos’ new show, The Spokesman, is a bit of a mystery. Presumably, he’s being ironic.
“I couldn’t be a spokesperson or a role model,” says the comic bluntly. “People are often saying to me, do this and do that. And I say no, I have my own issues and if I can’t be 100 per cent certain about what I’m saying, I’m not going to speak up about it.”
One thing that makes Amos shy away from offering a view on social affairs could be down to the attention he received after he made a film called Batty Man for Channel 4 in 2007, which later went on to win a Royal Television Society Award.
“I made that documentary because I knew someone who had been killed in a homophobic attack,” he says. “That was my impetus to speak out but I was then asked to appear on all these programmes, current affairs shows and Newsnight and so on and be a spokesperson. “Well, I said no – there’s so much more to me than that and I don’t want to be defined as a black gay comic.
“I don’t want to see that in the press – my stuff is much more than just being black and gay. It doesn’t define me, we’re all very different and there’s a myriad of people in the gay world.”
His current show will cover all kinds of topics and involve a fair bit of audience interaction – to make sure no evening is the same.
Having road-tested The Spokesman in Australia and then given it a run-out in the UK last year, Amos says it’s now honed to the best bit.
One section that will definitely crop up is on phobias.
“The fears and phobias we get are not something we’re born with,” he explains. “It’s a trigger or something that happens that affects you – if you had it as a child, then you might be affected forever.
“I can’t swim, and the idea of going into the ocean fills me with dread.
“As an adult now I just can’t overcome that. And then there’s a fear of heights. When you’re a kid, you’re climbing up on everything and nothing is off-limits until adults say ‘Don’t do that’, ‘Don’t go there’ ‘That’s dangerous’.
“I try to find ways of overcoming these fears but I haven’t found any. One thing I would say is don’t try skydiving while drunk.”
His various crowds have also shed light on their phobias.
“Someone said grabbing their own throat,” he laughs. “Another said holes that were too close together. Because my show is inclusive, people will say such funny things.”
While he admits that touring can be a tough old slog – “it’s one night here, then one night there: the travel is a killer but the gigs are just terrific” – Amos firmly believes he has landed the best job in the world. I don’t know of any other line of work where you can go up before a captive audience and say what your perception is on absolutely anything at all.
“If you work for a TV channel, you have to toe a certain line: not with this.”
Stephen K Amos brings his show, The Spokesman, to Farnham Maltings on Friday, February 7.