The Classic, Auckland

13/05/2013 - 18/05/2013

NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013

Production Details



If you know where Kettering is in the U.K. then you might be interested to know that the towns finest (and possibly only) comedy export, James Acaster, is heading to New Zealand with a brand new hour of comedic whimsy & engaging storytelling.  He is one of a new breed of British stand-up comedian offering a fresh change of pace covering off beat topics like bread research, the Kettering football chant, the Loch Ness Monster and stealing wooden ducks…

“one of the sharpest comic minds to have emerged in recent years.” – The Guardian

His nomination for ‘Best Show’ in the 2012 Edinburgh Comedy Awards comes just 4 years after James began his comedy career in January 2008, a rapid rise to the forefront of a very competitive industry.

Acaster’s subtle onstage persona understated delivery has found favour with a legion of fans and UK producers resulting early wins in a number of major new face competitions before launching himself at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2009. He rounded off 2010 supporting Josie Long on a national tour, before kick-starting 2011 as the support act for Milton Jones on his UK tour for pretty much the whole year! 

Most recently James has appeared on Russell Howard’s Good News (BBC THREE), Dave’s One Night Stand, Chris Addison’s Show and Tell (E4) and Live at the Comedy Store (Comedy Central) and toured the UK with ‘Amongst Other Things’.

“A mixed style of story-telling and philosophising that hasn’t been perfected so well since possibly Daniel Kitson.” – Edinburgh Evening News

“Acaster is an undeniable and wickedly original talent” – The List

“Delightfully whimsical, deliciously daft!” – London Evening Standard

As part of the 2013 NZ International Comedy Festival 

Date: Mon 13 – Sat 18 May, 7pm
Venue: The Classic 321 Queen St
Tickets $25 – $28 (booking fees may apply)
Bookings: 0800ticketek www.ticketek.co.nz  

Intelligent craft and delivery appreciated

Review by Kate Ward-Smythe 14th May 2013

A packed house awaits James Acaster for his opening night in Auckland. The word has spread that this skinny lanky white guy from Kettering, England, brings a different perspective to comedy festivals.

Looking like Tin-Tin’s nerdy brother, James’ unassuming personality, appearance, and smooth casual delivery are as inherently funny as his perspective. As James quietly performs a whimsical yet cleverly calculated hour, his humour feels natural and completely off the cuff.  

James’ comedy substance comes from scratching round in the unexpected and odd to connect the most unlikely sequences and imaginings, filled with quirky details, little obsessions and well placed ponderings. His ambition to sell ice creams seems an unlikely comedy haven, yet by the end of the night, he’s weaved it in and out of his material, with the same great left-turn punch line.

In between this chosen life-path, James shares a bevy of gems. Audience favourites include his Morse-code deconstruction of Mariachi music; rave moves; bad lyrics; questionnaires; sky-writers; the Beatles; Yoko and the Titanic – all of which he cleverly spins together by the end of his hour. The comedy bonus after the official finish is just as satisfying. 

Not surprisingly, James’ musings are peppered with language and phrases that don’t get around much anymore. He had me at “get fresh with”, “segue” and “flirty Twister”. Even when he tarries too long on a subject (smiles, for instance), we forgive the sweet man as he deadpans, “I acknowledge I tried your patience with that one.” 

James is just as comfortable off-script: His ad-libs as two audience members tip-toe off to the loo, providing fab one-liners which he then reincorporates into his current theme. Plus his recovery back into his routine is funny.  

The fact that his first heckle of the night is a loud and emphatic “Genius!” from a woman up the back, and another woman in the front row articulates positive agreement with everything James says, pretty much sums up the whole audience’s appreciation of James’ intelligent craft and delivery.

(Question for James: I missed the set up as I was laughing from previous material… When you said Eddie Hamilton, were you referring to the guy on our fiver? If so, his name is Hilary. Ed Hilary.)


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