Always Be Comedy (5 shows): The Tommyfield pub, Kennington, London, 2018
Having seen James Acaster twice before, I have always been in two minds as to whether is very funny or just very clever with his art of comedy. When I saw him on stage at Always Be Comedy over the course of four shows in February, March, May and June 2018, it turned out that he is both very clever and absolutely hilarious.
Acaster delivered three different sets, one was a full preview and the other two were half hour headline routines. The first hour long set was polished, refined, stylish and very very funny. The contrast between the sets was astonishing. The second time I saw him, Acaster was angry, awkward, political and a one-off. The audience saw a side to him that they were not quite expecting. The third time featured a story involving a mobile phone which he used to brilliant effect. Whilst watching him on all occasions, I thought Acaster was one of the best visual comedians around with amusingly brilliant looks and glances to the audience richly enhancing an already funny story to its comic conclusion. The pauses between the stories too were perfectly timed giving the crowd time to realise what has just been said and laugh all the more. In fact I was exhausted from laughing so hard – the first set was a brilliant hour long performance with a well-deserved encore.
I saw Acaster again later in the year perform a full one hour show at Always Be Comedy in June 2018. Before he was introduced by MC James Gill, I was invited up on to the stage to badly perform a song to get the crowd going for the main act. Earlier that week I had been extremely lucky to see The Rolling Stones at Twickenham Stadium and at the comedy club, I announced to the crowd that I was going to attempt to sing a rendition of their big hit Satisfaction. This amused the audience and before I started, Acaster who was sitting at the side yelled out, ‘Hang on Rich, I am going to record this!’ which got a big laugh. After my bad but encouraging attempt, Acaster strolled onto the stage and performed a brilliant hour pf stand-up which as ever made the audience listen and laugh. His routine was very tight and was able to talk at will about serious issues with very funny delivery.
Acaster once again played Always Be Comedy in October 2018. Whilst chatting with the audience, he came across an angry bloke citing Acaster as the cause of his anger. Pulling apart why the audience member was angry, Acaster brilliantly turned the awkward room into waves of laughter which thrilled and entertained the rest of the audience. Winning them over, Acaster triumphantly continued with his set and after the angry man left soon afterwards.
On the strength of these performances, Acaster is at the top of his game and one of the best comedians working on the circuit today.