Acaster in 2018
|Birth name||James William Acaster|
|Born||9 January 1985|
Kettering, Northamptonshire, England
|Alma mater||Northampton College|
He has performed for several consecutive years at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and has been nominated for Best Show five times. He won the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Award for Most Outstanding Show in 2019 with Cold Lasagne Hate Myself 1999, and has won four Chortle awards.
Acaster has appeared on several panel shows, including Mock the Week, Taskmaster, 8 out of 10 Cats, and Would I Lie to You?. He has a 2018 Netflix show titled Repertoire, consisting of four hour-long stand-up comedy performances. He has also written two books, James Acaster's Classic Scrapes, consisting of true stories, most of which were originally told on Josh Widdicombe's show on XFM, and Perfect Sound Whatever, consisting of album reviews from the year 2016. He currently hosts panel show Hypothetical alongside Widdicombe, food podcast Off Menu with fellow comedian Ed Gamble and music podcast James Acaster’s Perfect Sounds from the BBC.
Acaster was born in Kettering, Northamptonshire. He attended Montagu Secondary School in Kettering, and went on to study music at Northampton College. During this time, he also sporadically worked at a drinks stand at Wicksteed Park igniting a longstanding fascination with industrial catering equipment.
Acaster previously played drums in local bands in Northamptonshire including Pindrop, Three Line Whip, The New Hardcore Skiffle Movement, The Capri-Sun Quartet, and The Wow! Scenario. When Acaster was a member of the Capri-Sun Quartet, he was known as Sir William Strawberry. After The Wow! Scenario broke up, he "decided to do comedy before deciding what he really wanted to do". The Wow! Scenario recorded an album entitled Stand in the Star: A Verse and a Chorus in 2007, which was never released. Acaster announced in 2017 that he had reunited with The Wow! Scenario to finish recording Stand in the Star, and that it would be available in 2018. However, developments are still awaited on this project.
In 2009, Acaster performed in a show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with fellow comedians Josh Widdicombe and Nick Helm. In 2010, he supported Josie Long on tour, and, in 2011, he supported Milton Jones on tour.
He appeared on Russell Howard's Good News Extra, and was the internet act in the TV channel Dave's One Night Stand from Bristol. In 2011, he had his first solo show at the Edinburgh Festival, Amongst Other Things. Acaster appeared in Australia Versus and was co-host in My First Gig on Resonance FM radio. He appeared in Chris Addison's E4 programme Show and Tell in autumn 2011.
In spring 2012, he performed Amongst Other Things as solo shows in various venues in the UK. Acaster's 2012 Edinburgh show was called Prompt. It began its run to positive reviews and enthusiastic audience response. It received a nomination from the Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Awards for best comedy show at the festival in 2012.
Acaster began appearing on his friend Josh Widdicombe's radio programme on XFM in 2012, initially being asked to share a story about a strange situation he'd got himself into in the past. His first story proved popular enough that he was asked to continue sharing a story each week. These stories, dubbed "scrapes" by Josh and later "classic scrapes" by the listeners of the programme, became a recurring segment, known as "James Acaster's Classic Scrapes". Acaster's stories included being "cabbadged" [sic] repeatedly by his friend's son.
Acaster performed Prompt at 14 venues in England and Wales between January and March 2013, after which he appeared at the New Zealand International Comedy Festival. He won the New Zealand Comedy Guild's best international act award in December 2013.
Acaster's 2013 Edinburgh show Lawnmower was staged at the Pleasance Courtyard. It was nominated for the Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Award 2013 for best comedy show. In September 2013, he made his first appearance on the BBC musical comedy panel show Never Mind the Buzzcocks. He completed his UK tour of Lawnmower at a hometown gig in Kettering on 30 November 2013.
Acaster starred in various segments of radio, including the half-hour programme "James Acaster's Findings – Bread" for BBC Radio 4, also featuring Nathaniel Metcalfe and Bryony Hannah. A series of four episodes of "James Acaster's Findings" was recorded in June and July 2014, the first of these episodes being broadcast on 5 November 2014. Acaster also regularly appeared on Josh Widdicombe's XFM radio show, where he had a keen following for his "classic scrapes" (subsequently published as a book in 2017). His series Sweet Home Ketteringa (2014) follows him on a journey of discovery around his home town exploring its history and nascent rivalries with proximal town Corby which was sparked by a Primark store opening in the latter town.
Acaster's 2014 Edinburgh show was called Recognise. The show was previewed in April and May in Australia and New Zealand, where it won the New Zealand International Comedy Festival Award for Best International Show. Recognise was again nominated for the Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Award 2014 for best comedy show – third in a row for Acaster. It was performed at over 30 British venues during autumn 2014, including a two-week run at the Soho Theatre in December due to the success of the October dates at the same venue.
Acaster's 2015 Edinburgh show was called Represent, again performed at the Pleasance Courtyard. It earned Acaster his 4th consecutive Edinburgh Comedy Award nomination for Best Show, becoming the second artist to do so after Al Murray. The UK tour of this show ran from October to December 2015, ending at the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue. Due to the show's success, Acaster took Represent to the Soho Theatre for a week-long run in March 2016.
In 2015 he won the Chortle awards for Best Breakthrough Act and Best Show for Recognise.
Acaster's 2016 show was called Reset. It was previewed at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, and the New Zealand International Comedy Festival in Auckland and Wellington, both in April/May 2016, then at the Udderbelly Festival in June 2016, and finally at The Tringe Festival in Tring in July. Acaster performed this show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2016, where he became the first comedian to receive a fifth nomination for best show at the festival. In June 2016, Acaster appeared as a guest on Russell Howard's Stand Up Central. In July 2016, Acaster performed in the comedy tent at Latitude Festival. In September 2016 he wrote a pilot episode for a new sitcom, We The Jury, which was broadcast by the BBC.
In 2017 Acaster took Recognise, Represent, and Reset to various venues, performing one show each night over three nights as The Trelogy. A further show of previously performed material, Recap, was also developed to tie the shows together thematically. These four shows were filmed in September for a Netflix special. His first book, James Acaster's Classic Scrapes, recounting the stories he told on Josh Widdicombe's XFM radio show and podcast, was published in August, followed by a book-reading tour in autumn 2017. Classic Scrapes appeared on The Sunday Times best-seller list. In November, he turned on the Christmas lights in Kettering.
In March 2018, Netflix released James Acaster: Repertoire, consisting of the four one-hour shows filmed in September 2017. The initial response to Repertoire was very positive, with a rating of 8.3 on IMDB. In July 2018, Acaster performed at Cornbury Musical Festival on the Comedy Stage. Acaster currently presents a weekly podcast series with Ed Gamble called Off Menu. In 2019, Acaster won the Chortle Award for Best Show with Cold Lasagne Hate Myself 1999. Perfect Sound Whatever is Acaster's second book, about an obsessive challenge that he undertook in 2017 to collect as much music released in 2016 as possible. It was published by Headline Publishing Group in August 2019. In 2019, Acaster won the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Award, making him the first UK comedian to do so in nine years. Acaster’s podcast with BBC Sounds, James Acaster’s Perfect Sounds, started in April 2020.
|2011||Russell Howard's Good News||Self||Series 4 Episode 5|
|2011||Show and Tell||Self||Series 1 Episode 7, Series 1 Episode 8|
|2013–2014||Never Mind the Buzzcocks||Self||Series 27 Episode 1, Series 28 Episode 4|
|2013–2014||Sweat the Small Stuff||Self||Series 1 Episode 8, Series 2 Episode 5, Series 4 Episode 5|
|2014||Spicks and Specks||Self||Series 8 Episode 15|
|2014||Edinburgh Comedy Fest Live||Self||2014, Episode 1|
|2014||Big Brother's Bit on the Side||Self||26 June 2014|
|2014||Comedy Up Late||Self||Series 2 Episode 4|
|2014||Virtually Famous||Self||Series 1 Episodes 3, 6|
|2014||Sweet Home Ketteringa||Self (Host)||Documentary Series|
|2014, 2017||Richard Herring's Leicester Square Theatre Podcast||Self||Leicester Square Episodes 49, 208; Edinburgh Fringe Episode 77|
|2014–2017||8 Out of 10 Cats||Self||Series 17 Episode 5, Series 18 Episode 5, Series 19 Episode 6, Series 20 Episode 10|
|2014–present||Mock the Week||Self||Series 13 Episode 10; Series 14 Episodes 1, 3, 9, 10; Series 15 Episodes 2, 5, 9, 11; Series 16 Episodes 1, 2, 8, 9, 10; Series 17 Episodes 1, 3, 5|
|2015||Josh||Mike||Series 1 Episode 4|
|2015||Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled||Self||Series 2 Episode 5|
|2015||Community Kitchen||Self||Series 3 Episodes 4, 5|
|2015||Drunk History: UK||Self||Series 1 Episodes 1, 7|
|2015||The John Bishop Show||Self||Episode 1|
|2015||Live at the Apollo||Self||Series 11, Episode 5|
|2015–2018||Have I Got News For You||Self||Series 49 Episode 9, Series 55 Episode 4|
|2016||Room 101||Self||Series 16 Episode 4|
|2016||We the Jury||Creator/Writer||Unsold Pilot|
|2016||Live from the BBC||Self||Series 1, Episode 3|
|2016||Stand Up Central||Self||Series 2 Episode 4|
|2016||7 Days||Self||Series 8 Episode 13|
|2016||Sunday Brunch||Self||Series 5 Episode 15|
|2016||Sweet Home Lahnsteineringa||Self (Host)||Documentary Series (Season 2 of Sweet Home Ketteringa)|
|2016–present||Sounds Random||Self (Host)|
|2017||The Last Leg||Self||Series 12 Episode 4|
|2017||Romesh: Talking to Comedians||Self||Series 2 Episode 6 Hosted by Romesh Ranganathan|
|2017||We Have Been Watching||Self|
|2017–2018||Insert Name Here||Self||Series 2 Episode 5, Series 3 Episode 3, Series 4 Episode 1|
|2017–2018||8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown||Self||Series 12 Episode 7 (Jon's Team); Series 17 Christmas Special (Dictionary Corner)|
|2017–2020||Would I Lie to You?||Self||Series 11 Episode 3, Series 12 Episode 7, Series 13 Episode 10|
|2018||The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice||Self||Series 5 Episode 7|
|2018||James Acaster: Repertoire||Self||A Netflix original comedy special - Recognise, Represent, Reset, Recap|
|2018||Richard Osman's House of Games||Self||Series 2 Week 8|
|2018||Jon Richardson: Ultimate Worrier||Self||Episode 6|
|2018||A1: The Long Road to Edinburgh||Self||Documentary|
|2018||Innuendo Bingo||Self||With Josh Widdicombe|
|2019||Pointless Celebrities||Self||Series 11 (Comedians Episode)|
|2019–present||Hypothetical||Self||Co-Host with Josh Widdicombe|
|2019||The Jonathan Ross Show||Self||Guest|
|2019||The Great Stand Up to Cancer Bake Off||Self||Series 2 Contestant|
|2019||Who Said That?||Self||Episode 7|
|2017||James Acaster's Classic Scrapes|
|2019||Perfect Sound Whatever|
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- [dead link]
- "The Comedy Crawl | 30th April-1st May 2011". 30 March 2012. Archived from the original on 30 March 2012.
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- "JAMES ACASTER ... Recognise! (England) - Comedy.co.nz - The home of live NZ comedy. Comedians, News, Reviews , Video, Venues. The Classic Comedy Bar and Classic Studio". 13 March 2014. Archived from the original on 13 March 2014. Retrieved 20 June 2020.
- "Comedy festival award winners". The New Zealand Herald.
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- "Chortle Awards". Chortle. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
- "BBC - We The Jury - Media Centre". www.bbc.co.uk.
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- Acaster, James (19 May 2017). "Repertoire". James Acaster Official Website. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
- Times, The Sunday (3 September 2017). "Books: The Sunday Times Bestsellers, September 3" – via www.thetimes.co.uk.
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