Stephen K Amos: ‘Where are all the other gay black comedians?’
Comedian Stephen K Amos has spoken about his experiences as a gay black man on the comedy circuit and the issue of race in television.
In an interview, the star said his material about his own experiences does not always get a positive reception.
Amos told Time Out :”You can’t not feel the pressure. When I first started most of my material was just about general stuff. When I started doing shows which were more about me, and race, I started getting critics saying: ‘Oh, we’ve heard him talk about being black and gay before, it’s all hack!'”
He went on to highlight the lack of black, gay comics on the circuit and spoke about his worries for future generations of gay comedians from ethnic groups.
“Show me the other black gay comics who were talking about their experiences. I worry that if it doesn’t work out, then when’s the next guy going to get a chance?” he said.
Continuing on the subject of race discrimination, he criticised the ‘blinkered’ decision-makers who hold the reins of power in television: “I had a meeting with a well-known broadcaster’s production team a little while ago, when Richard Blackwood had his show, and one of them actually said to me: ‘The problem is – we’ve already got Richard. You two are too similar.’ But my set is nothing like Richard’s. He just meant we were both black. You wouldn’t ever hear two white stand-ups being talked about like that.”
The Tooting-born comedian has been a fixture on the comedy circuit for 12 years, but only publicly acknowledged his sexuality in 2006.
In 2008, he said he felt the need to “stand up and be counted” after a friend was killed in a homophobic attack.
Amos will be performing on Tuesday September 8th in Time Out presents For One Night Only at the Bloomsbury Theatre.