While gay British funny man Stephen K. Amos made his Edinburgh Fringe debut in 2001, it wasn’t until his 2006 show All Of Me that he started discussing his sexuality on stage.
Speaking to the comedian on the line from his London home ahead of the release of his first-ever live DVD, Find The Funny, Sydney Star Observer discovered that Amos’ admission was born out of tragedy.
“It was the right decision to make, but it came at a pretty horrible time,” he explained. “I saw a story on the news about a man who’d been killed in a homophobic attack in a park here in London. I looked up at the screen and it was a friend of mine. That really pissed me off, and made me decide it was time to stand up and be counted.”
Despite (or perhaps because of) this, Amos has amassed a large mainstream audience — anyone who’s been to one of his shows will know that for every gay audience member, there are just as many suburban families.
“Some people come to my show not knowing I’m gay. When they find out, they’re visibly shocked, which is part of the message I’m trying to get across — that gay men and lesbians come in all shapes and sizes, that we don’t fit into stereotypes,” Amos said.
Amos’s open approach to his sexuality also led him to host a pair of gay-interest television documentaries. The first, 2007’s Batty Man, was an illuminating insight into attitudes towards homosexuality in the British black community.
The other… well, the other was called Penis Envy.
“It was a fun, silly job that paid the mortgage. But it did highlight a problem I wasn’t aware of — that some men are worried about size, girth and width, and they’re very shy about talking about those issues with anyone. We were lucky we had some very brave subjects in the show who were willing to talk about this stuff.”
info: Find The Funny — Live is available now through Via Vision Entertainment.