Young comedian James Acaster returns to Fringe with Prompt
‘Daft and whimsical' Edinburgh show after introduction to comedy via Scouting
This article is from 2012.
Stand-ups get their first taste of the comedy stage in different ways. Some might be forced by their long-suffering partner into doing an open mic night, others might have done some stand-up in their student days, a few have ditched their well-paid but mind-crushingly tedious jobs to take the plunge. ‘I did some sketches in The Gang Show,’ is not a phrase you will hear very often when you speak to a stand-up about their debut comedy performance, but it’s one that James Acaster is far from ashamed about. And good for him.
‘I was a cub when I auditioned which was a pile of bollocks really, because they’re not mean and so everyone gets in,’ recalls the Kettering comedian. ‘Every year I ended up in the musical numbers but eventually I got in a sketch because the usual people had left. There were three people auditioning called James and the director thought it would be funny to put three people called James in a sketch together. I think the scouts may have inspired me more than I thought.’
After a successful Fringe solo debut in 2011, Acaster is back with Prompt (‘I like the “mpt” sound’), and is promising no dramatic change of tack from last year; so we can expect chatty semi-surreal banter, some silences while a scene is played out for its visual comedy and a general recurrence of the ‘daft and whimsical’. But his playful audience interaction might be down a few percentage points. ‘I won’t be jumping on people’s backs pretending to be a jetpack. If I did that two years in a row, I’d just be known as the back-guy and every year I’d have to think of a new way to mount a member of the audience.’
Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, 4–26 Aug, 8.15pm, £10–£12 (£8.50–£10.50). Previews until 3 Aug, £5.