Wilko – I don’t want to shake your hand in case you get injured.”
That was how Stephen K Amos - as Nelson Mandela - introduced himself to the perennially-injured former-Newcastle Falcons and England rugby world cup winning fly half Jonny Wilkinson when they met back in 2010 for a Comic Relief.
He’s a braver man than me. He’s also bound for the North East (without the persona of the former South African President riding shotgun) as part of his latest tour, The Spokesman.
A regular on television panel shows like Have I Got News for You and Mock the Week, as well as Live at the Apollo and Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, the comic has created a show devoted to his role as an orator on certain matters.
The brilliance of Amos is his subtly and craft which encapsulate audiences and allow him to tackle political and social issues through subtle humour and impeccable comic timing.
Amos has always used his wit and originality to break down barriers and to feel accepted.
From being singled out for being the only black child in his class at school, to being stuck in the middle of a race riot in Portsmouth and struggling to open up about the fact he was gay, the comic has always tried to shake-off his outsider status.
And if his current workload is anything to go by, he’s made big strides towards achieving this.
As well as his current tour, which comes to Durham and The Stand Newcastle on Sunday and Monday respectively, the London-born performer’s radio programme, Life – An Idiot’s Guide, has been granted a second series on BBC Radio 4 while the channel has also recently commissioned his new sitcom, co-written with Jonathan Harvey, entitled What Does the K Stand For?
His autobiography, I Used To Say My Mum Was Shirley Bassey, was published last year and was widely praised for bringing his delicate, crowd-pleasing style from stand-up into print.
An hour-long version of the show which will entertain North East audiences left spectators at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival hanging on his every word.
It seems Amos really is, The Spokesman.
:: Stephen K Amos: The Spokesman is playing Gala Theatre Durham on Sunday and The Stand, Newcastle, on Monday. Call 03000 266600 and 0844 6933336 respectively for tickets.