Eat, drink and be merry

Stephen K Amos is all about the good things in life – that’s why he’s bringing a mixture of comedy and cooking to this year’s Foodies at the Festival.

Popular Fringe stand-up Stephen K Amos is better known for his deft handling of a punchline than his pan-rattling talents, but he will be combining both sets of skills when he appears at Foodies at the Festival.

A recent, not entirely successful, stint on Celebrity Masterchef was enough to convince the comic that he was happier on a stage than in a professional kitchen. “Who wants to be shouted at because they are not making offal well enough?” he asks, not unreasonably.

Expect his Foodies demo to go heavy on the humour, with just a sprinkling of cooking to act as a seasoning to the gags. “I’ll probably try to recreate the fish dish I did on Masterchef but with more of a comic angle,” he predicts. “If there is one thing that I am not, it’s the love child of Delia Smith and Ainsley Harriott.”

While looking forward to Foodies, Stephen will feel much more at home in the two stage shows he is performing in August. Along with Lionel Blair, Phil Nichol and Marcus Brigstocke, he is performing in RB Sheridan’s 18th century farce The School For Scandal as Sir Benjamin Backbite. When not sporting a powdered wig and breeches, he’ll be tearing up his own stand-up show. Titled The Feelgood Factor, it’s Stephen’s attempt to find an antidote to credit-crunch related doom.

“Everyone is worried about things like the credit crisis and the environment,” he reckons. “I look at my young nephews and nieces and they just laugh at anything and feel good all the time. I want to try and recreate that.”

If his previous Fringe shows had a strong autobiographical slant then this year’s offering looks at the wider world. “People have got to know who I am now and I imagine that they just want to see a funny show” he muses. “To be honest, I’m quite sick of talking about myself. This is going to be more jazz-hands, more showbiz.”

Not that Stephen will have to force the old razzle dazzle or fight to find his own feelgood factor. He has had some rather good news recently. As well as starring with Omid Djalili in a piloted BBC2 sitcom called In My Country, Stephen has just had his own show green-lighted for a BBC2 series. The title has still to be confirmed but Stephen has nailed the format.
“It will be a mix of sketch, stand-up and audience interaction. I want it to be topical so each episode will be recorded and shown within a week rather than recording it all in one go and then showing it nine months later.”

While his imminent TV work is good news for Stephen, it may be worrying for Lenny Henry. Stephen used to joke that TV bigwigs practiced a one in one out policy and that the only way he would get on television is if Lenny Henry died. Does he know something about Lenny that we don’t?

“I did a gig with Lenny Henry yesterday and he asked me exactly the same thing,” laughs Stephen. “Lenny is alive and kicking and there is absolutely enough room for both of us.”

Foodies at the Festival with Top Chefs, Holyrood Park, 21-23 August, times vary From £6 0871 230 5573
The School For Scandal, Pleasance One, 5-31 August (not 12,19) 4.00pm From £5 0131 556 6550,
Stephen K Amos – The Feelgood Factor, Pleasance Grand, 5-31 August (not 12,18) 9.40pm From £8 Tel 0131 556 6550

If you like this, try Nigel Brown at Foodies at the Festival

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