Q&A: James Acaster prepares for Reset tour, plus his tips for new comedians

Our resident comedy blogger and stand-up comedian, Ben Keenan, shares his recent chat with the brilliant James Acaster, fresh from announcing his new Reset tour.

Last night I had the double pleasure of gigging at one of London’s top open mic nights run by the very funny Barry Ferns, and the absolute pleasure to share the bill with the very funny, refreshingly honest and down to earth comedian James Acaster.

Scroll down to read our chat…

James. Great set tonight, tell me how long you have been in comedy?

“About eight years.”

It’s fair to say you’re now at a level where you could pick and choose where you would want to play, what makes you come back to clubs like this?

“Well you’ve gotta write a new show every year so places like this are great for trying out new stuff because you never know what kind of audience you’re gonna get.”

Tonight you had this great routine about honey and it’s was quite a long routine, did you pre plan it that way or did you just go with the room and riff about it more?

“A bit of both really, at the minute I’m trying to make that bit longer. I feel sometimes when I’m doing sets I can move on from a bit too quickly and you lose the momentum of it. So I’m trying to add more bits to that. So I’ll write a bit at home then I’ll riff on it when I’m [on stage].”

James Acaster Live at the Apollo

So with material, how long would you keep the same stuff in, even if it’s always landing? Would you say it has a shelf life?

“I think you’re your own boss when it’s come to that. There’s no real right or wrong answer. As long as your still enjoying doing that material. When you’re not enjoying it then move on.”

Right before I let you go I’ve one last clichéd question – any advice for comedians like myself starting out?

“So first thing to remember is that what you’re doing is amazing. One of the things I’m most proud of in my career is doing the open mic scene, it’s a rough environment to be in and if you can go into some of the worst rooms with the worst audiences and do the worst you can because you’re new and you’re just learning yourself, then that sets you aside from 99.9% of the population. So take faith in that.

“Always experiment and try new ideas and be honest with yourself about how good they are. Never blame an audience if it’s not working. I think that’s all the advice I have? No, I’m sure I’ve more advice! But basically just be in tune with who you are, oh and don’t take failing badly. You’re gonna fail your whole career. And you’ll only get better with each failure.”

So there you have it guys, it’s a tough and long road ahead but if you’re true to yourself and can handle the failings that comes with the territory then you may just have a chance and above all enjoy your journey, I sure am!

James Acaster has just announced his Reset tour, book now at

Like this interview? See more from Ben at @ItsBenK and

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