James Acaster

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James Acaster
James Acaster (comedian - ComedyClub4Kids).PNG
Acaster performing in the Udderbelly for the Comedy Club 4 Kids, June 2015
Born (1985-01-09) 9 January 1985 (age 33)
Kettering, England
Years active2008–present[1]

James William Acaster[2] (/ˈkæstər/; born 9 January 1985) is an English comedian originally from Kettering, Northamptonshire. He has performed for several consecutive years at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and won two Chortle awards in 2015. Acaster has appeared on several panel shows, including Mock the Week, and has a 2018 Netflix show entitled Repertoire, consisting of four hour-long stand-up comedy performances. He has also written a book, James Acaster's Classic Scrapes, consisting of true stories originally told on the Josh Widdicombe show on XFM.

Early life[edit]

Acaster attended Montagu Secondary School in Kettering and went on to study music at Northampton College.[3]

Musical career[edit]

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.[4] When Acaster was a member of the Capri-Sun Quartet he was known as William Strawberry. After The Wow! Scenario broke up, he "decided to do comedy before deciding what he really wanted to do".[citation needed] 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, which will be available on Bandcamp in 2018.[5]

Comedy career[edit]


In 2009 Acaster performed in a show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with fellow comedians Josh Widdicombe and Nick Helm.[6] In 2010 he supported Josie Long on tour,[7] and in 2011 he supported Milton Jones on tour.[8]

He appeared on Russell Howard's Good News Extra[9] and was the internet act in Dave's One Night Stand from Bristol.[10] In 2011 he had his first solo show at the Edinburgh Festival, Amongst Other Things.[11][12] Acaster appeared in Australia Versus and was co-host in My First Gig on Resonance FM radio.[13] 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 program on XFM in 2012, initially being asked to share a story about a strange situation he'd gotten 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 program, became a recurring segment known as "James Acaster's Classic Scrapes". Acaster's best-known story is likely[weasel words] his being "cabadged" [sic] repeatedly by his friend's son.[14]


Acaster performed Prompt at 14 venues in England and Wales between January and March 2013, after which he appeared at Auckland Comedy Festival in New Zealand. 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"[15] 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 was 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).

Acaster's 2014 Edinburgh show was called Recognise. The show was previewed in April and May in Australia and New Zealand,[16] where it won the New Zealand International Comedy Festival Award for Best International Show.[17] Recognise was again nominated for the Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Award 2014 for best comedy show – third in a row for Acaster.[18] 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 appeared as a panellist on 8 Out of 10 Cats on 17 March and 4 November 2014,[19] and on Spicks and Specks in Australia on 14 May 2014.[20] Acaster has been a guest several times on Mock the Week.


Acaster's 2015 Edinburgh show was called Represent, again performed at the Pleasance Courtyard.[21] 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.

Acaster appeared as a guest on The Dog Ate My Homework in March 2015 and Have I Got News for You in June 2015. On 2 December 2015, he appeared as Mike on the BBC Three sitcom Josh. On 7 December 2015, he appeared on Live at the Apollo, performing segments from his show Represent.

During this year he won the Chortle awards for Best Breakthrough Act and Best Show for Recognise.[22]


On 11 February 2016, Acaster appeared as a guest on Room 101, where he attempted to have geese and the shot put sent to Room 101. On 12 February 2016, he appeared as a guest on QI. On 16 February 2016, he was a panellist on The Dog Ate My Homework.

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 Festival Fringe in August 2016, where he became the first comedian to receive a fifth nomination for best show at the festival.

Acaster appeared on the BBC Three online special Live from the BBC on 2 March 2016.

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 of a new sitcom, We The Jury, which was broadcast by the BBC.[23]


In 2017 Acaster took Recognise, Represent and Reset to various venues, performing one show each night over three nights as The Trelogy.[24] A further show of previously performed material, Recap, was also developed to tie the shows together thematically. These four shows were filmed in September.

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.[25]

Acaster appeared on a Would I Lie to You? episode in 2017.

In November he turned on the Christmas lights in Kettering.[26]


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.[27] He is currently developing his next comedy show, entitled Cold Lasagne Hate Myself 1999.[28]

In June 2018, Acaster appeared again as a panellist on Mock the Week.[29]

In July 2018, Acaster performed at Cornbury Musical Festival on the Comedy Stage.[30]

From September to November 2018, Acaster was a contestant in series 7 of Taskmaster.[31]


  1. ^ "Comedy CV – the UK's largest collection of comedians biogs and photos". comedycv.co.uk.
  2. ^ James Acaster's Classic Scrapes (7 May 2016). "James Acaster's band 'The Wow! Scenario' - Live from Edinburgh Fringe" – via YouTube.
  3. ^ Turtle Canyon Comedy (12 January 2015). "Sweet Home Ketteringa - Episode 4 - Kettering Buccleuch Academy" – via YouTube.
  4. ^ "The Wow! Scenario Content on Myspace". Myspace.[non-primary source needed]
  5. ^ "The Wow! Scenario Album - James Acaster Official Website". 17 May 2017.
  6. ^ "Acaster, Helm and Widdicombe – Live at the Voodoo Bar". list.co.uk.
  7. ^ "Josie Long and James Acaster and The Pictish Trail". 2010-08-26. Retrieved 2018-04-07.
  8. ^ "Milton Jones: Lion Whisperer, Gala Theatre, Durham". The Advertiser Series.
  9. ^ James Acaster on Russell Howard's Good News on YouTube
  10. ^ "H". uktv.co.uk.
  11. ^ Powder Blue Internet Business Solutions. "James Acaster". chortle.co.uk.
  12. ^ [1][dead link]
  13. ^ [2]
  14. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxBsClrLPEU
  15. ^ "BBC Radio 4 – James Acaster's Findings, Pilot Episode: Bread". BBC.
  16. ^ [3]
  17. ^ "Comedy festival award winners". The New Zealand Herald.
  18. ^ Brian Logan (23 August 2014). "John Kearns wins the Foster's Edinburgh comedy award 2014". The Guardian.
  19. ^ "8 Out of 10 Cats". Channel 4.
  20. ^ "Spicks and Specks". ABC Television.
  21. ^ "James Acaster – Represent – Pleasance". The Pleasance. Retrieved 18 June 2015.
  22. ^ "Chortle Awards". Chortle. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  23. ^ "BBC - We The Jury - Media Centre". www.bbc.co.uk.
  24. ^ Guide, British Comedy (16 November 2016). "James Acaster 2017 tour: The Trelogy - British Comedy Guide".
  25. ^ Times, The Sunday (3 September 2017). "Books: The Sunday Times Bestsellers, September 3" – via www.thetimes.co.uk.
  26. ^ Wilding, Bianca. "Kettering born TV comedian James Acaster to switch on town's Christmas lights". www.kettering.gov.uk.
  27. ^ "James Acaster: Repertoire" – via www.imdb.com.
  28. ^ "Announcing west end run of new show cold lasagne hate myself 1999". James Acaster. Retrieved 2018-07-08.
  29. ^ "Episode 1, Series 17, Mock the Week - BBC Two". BBC. Retrieved 2018-06-08.
  30. ^ "News: Cornbury Festival Announces Comedy Line-Up". Beyond The Joke. 11 June 2018.
  31. ^ Taskmaster Series 7 | Coming Soon | Dave, retrieved 2018-07-05

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