Venue: The Comedy Arena
Reviewer: Fergus Morgan
James Acaster can deal with a heckle better than anyone. When a mouthy drunkard started abusing him halfway through his Latitude slot, he clambered off the stage into the audience and chatted with said heckler for a good ten minutes. It was smooth, hilarious, and gloriously winning stuff. And it was indicative of a talent at the top of his game and a comic rapidly establishing himself as a big name.
Acaster’s faux-miserable, half-arsed persona and his laid back, dopey delivery perfectly complement his wandering material. Combining the grumpiness of Jack Dee with the surrealist material of Bill Bailey, but adding in a chippy mock-boastfulness that is entirely his own, Acaster has found a unique style with universal appeal.
His stuff is never dull, from philosophical meanderings imagining if life could be reset like a game of Tetris to extended political metaphors linking Brexit with the act of making tea; should you leave the teabag in, strengthening the tea as a whole, or should you take it out, weaken the tea, and throw the teabag in the bin. No prizes for guessing how a Latitude audience liked their brew.
Confident, relaxed and playful, Acaster has his crowd in the palm of his hand from the get-go. Perhaps his material lacks structure at times, but in truth, this was difficult to judge when a huge chunk of his slot was spent effortlessly belittling a heckler to howls of laughter and appreciation. And you’d trade a disparate show for such fresh, hilarious entertainment any day of the week.