Fresh from touring the US, Adelaide comedian and radio breakfast host Amos Gill debuts his new show ‘Where Have I Been All Your Life?’.
“I’m very stressed out so please come along everybody,” he says. “This is my first comedy show while having a mortgage, and now I really understand the value of your money and my money. I don’t know if you’ve seen the poster with the mountain of avocados? That cost me roughly $350 to get organised, so hopefully it’s a good show so I can make that money back.
“That’s my message, and I believe that you will not waste your money if you come to my show, because this one particularly I’ve been doing a lot of work on in America and I’m hoping it’s going to be my best one yet. But everyone says that, don’t they? I mean, even AC/DC say their next album’s going to be a good one, but it’s a long way past their best.”
Amos’ recent affairs of the heart are the inspiration behind ‘Where Have I Been All Your Life?’, and thankfully – for Amos’ fans – there were no happy endings.
“I don’t know if I would have had a show unless I had two break ups. Basically I had a long-term girlfriend and we broke up because I didn’t want to have children essentially, and then I kind of rebounded with someone who I used to work with and I made the classic mistake of going, ‘Oh! You’re the best human being ever. You’ll completely replace any of the pain I had over the first break up’.
“And then we broke up over long distance and she gave birth to this show. It legitimately was my first real, shocking heartbreak. Everything was going great, and then I got dumped by a text. I read it out on stage and it’s like the audience are my friends. I’m like, ‘guys, you would not believe. Look at this f***ing text message’.”
For Amos, the richest comedy fodder has always come from over-sharing an inappropriate amount of detail about his personal life, particularly his more shameful moments.
“I truly keep nothing private, and that was a big problem in my past relationship as well because my girlfriend hated being spoken about. But I don’t know, I just feel like if you’re not being honest then you’re never going to connect with the audience anyway.
“Pretty much the only comedy I can really do is honest, personal recollections about stuff which is probably from a selfish lens point, but I only feel like I can connect if I have a personal story where something shameful or embarrassing happened. I feel like the comedian’s job is to say stuff that the audience wants to say and maybe they think but they don’t feel comfortable expressing, and we’re meant to be the ones that say it so they feel less ashamed for whatever that might be. But I mean at the end of the day, it’s just a white dude yelling out stuff and being angry. I’m not reinventing the wheel here.”
Praised by critics for his excellent joke-to-narrative ratio, Amos hones his unfiltered and honest stand-up routines among friends and on the circuit.
“I don’t really like to write [material]. I have a vague idea of bits, and then you go on stage and you improvise and you keep what works and you chuck out what’s crap. It’s kind of like sculpting, right? A good joke is when you’ve just chipped away all the bad stuff and you hope you’re left with a statue. You keep telling the story.
“I always tell people, you tell a story one night with your friends in a bar and you get a couple of laughs, then you tell your next group of friends and you drop the bits that are boring and you add a few more details that definitely didn’t happen but sound funnier, because that’s kind of the process. You’re just lying and exaggerating and kind of getting to the point quicker, and then if you do that throughout the year, by the end of the year you’re left with some hopefully good stories and jokes.
Sharpening ‘Where Have I Been All Your Life?’ on American audiences and supporting Jim Jefferies weren’t the only reasons behind Amos’ recent trip to the USA.
“I came out here to find my US manager basically. It’s going really, really well. I’m going to hopefully avoid any movie producers like Harvey Weinstein. That’s my ambition, although I’ve got to be honest with you, I did have a meeting with a management company here and I was like, ‘just to let you know, if you want me to do anything to you sexually, I’m up for it okay? I definitely want any opportunities, so if I have to go down on someone, look, it will not be problem in my book’. I have no shame.”
Despite being recognised with comedy awards and nominations from some of the world’s most important comedy festivals, for Amos, nothing can compare to performing in his hometown of Adelaide.
“It’s definitely a lot more fun performing to people who kind of know who you are. They get the joke. You don’t have to work as hard to explain where you’re coming from. That’s definitely a good thing. The bad news is that my dad’s workmates from Toll Priority still come along and they’re the worst audience members on the planet: [Them:] ‘C’mon, tell a story about your dad’. [Me:] ‘No! No one else knows about the Christmas party that you guys went to’. So the negative of the Adelaide Fringe for me is that I’ve got all these family, friends and mates who turn up absolutely off their chops, and they try to heckle me.”
A regular Fringe fixture at Adelaide’s comedy institution Rhino Room, Amos is looking forward to debuting ‘Where Have I Been All Your Life?’ in the venue’s new CBD habitat.
“The old Rhino is a very special Australian comedy venue, but it got knocked down and you’ve got to move on. I think the excitement for me is you get to build the history of the new one, because the old one is so special to so many comedians.
“I grew up in the Rhino Room. I did my first shows there during the Fringe. I’d see Tom Gleeson and Wil Anderson doing shows there, and then this year and last year, I’m now leading the line at the Rhino Room at the eight o’clock timeslot, and I go, ‘Oh shit, I actually have to bring people into this venue now. It’s on me’. I kind of forget that I’ve got a job to do now. Not just for my show, but also for the Rhino Room to keep that going for people coming into the new venue. It is my responsibility and the responsibility of the new comedians to give this venue some of its history as well.”
Amos Gill Tour Dates6-17 March – Rhino Room (Adelaide)
29 March-22 April – Chinese Museum (Melbourne)
3-5 May – Regal Theatre (Perth)
17-20 May – Enmore Theatre (Sydney)