There must be something in the water around the town of Kettering that produces truly talented comedians. As well as Hugh Denis, an upcoming and charismatic young performer called James Acaster has spring boarded from the Edinburgh Fringe to perform with Milton Jones and Josie Long to hundreds of thousands of people across the UK. He took his first solo show to Edinburgh last August which received ‘a plethora of brilliant reviews’. With appearances on Russell Howard’s Good News (BBC 3), Dave’s One Night Stand and Chris Addison’s Show and Tell (E4), James is deservedly gaining recognition as one of Britain’s foremost stand up comedians.
How did your upbringing prepare you for a career in comedy?
My parents were always very encouraging when it came to being creative so that helped, although they were also extremely positive when it came to feedback which is not something you always receive from comedy audiences.
Did where you were brought up affect your decision to go into comedy?
Kettering is a very nice town but there never seems to be much going on there and so people are constantly trying to put on events, sometimes music or comedy or plays etc, to keep everyone entertained. So what happens is there’s always something going on even though it never feels like it. So I got involved in lots of bands and performances growing up where I did and that lead me into comedy.
At what point did you decide that comedy was the path for you?
After a year and a half of doing the open microphone comedy circuit. It took me a while to decide this would be a fun lifestyle.
What have been your highs and lows?
I would be lying if I said that getting nominated for best comedy show at Edinburgh wasn’t a great high and I would be lying if I said sleeping in a bush in Basingstoke because I had missed my train home wasn’t an awful low.
Who are your favourite comedians?
Too many to list. Eddie Izzard, Dave Chappelle, Louis CK, Ross Noble, Stewart Lee and many more.
What’s your favourite joke?
I think I just really enjoy people doing silly voices, if that counts.
What’s your favourite joke to tell?
Right now it’s a routine about Joe Bloggs, but it’s not actually finished yet. I’m getting there.
How has being a comedian affected the way people react to you off the stage?
I get asked to tell jokes a lot more than I used to and I get told I’m braver more than I used to. Both of which trigger very different but very long conversations.
What’s the reaction you usually get when you tell people you’re a comedian?
They seem impressed but are suspicious I might be a knob.
What’s next for you?
I am going to the Edinburgh festival to do my new show then I’m touring it round the UK in the Autumn.
James will be performing his new show ‘Lawnmower’ at Pleasance Courtyard this August.
You can find his website here: www.jamesacaster.com