every one thought James Exeter Quit stand-up comedy. He said he would be “happy” to not do it again. Except… today he tells me something different. “I’m not going to decide one way or the other,” he says from his home in London. really? but five times Edinburgh Comedy Award One candidate told one of the podcasts, “Right now, I never want to do that again.” He says his mentality at the time was about “not putting pressure on myself to say ‘I should go back’ or ‘I should never go back’… I never said I would quit. Some people were under the impression that I quit, but I didn’t.” truly “.
There were multiple reasons why Acaster didn’t quit comedy altogether. His tour of 2019 Cold Lasagna I hate myself 1999 I saw him at his weakest on stage, speaking frankly about his personality Psychological health. But fame has brought with it an increasing number of clips that are difficult to deal with when combined with personal material. I was among the audience to record cold lasagna In 2019, and it definitely felt like it could have been the last ever Acaster show.
I mention this to him as he shakes his head. “When you were going to watch it, that was the last time I did the show and I was definitely ready to not stand for a while and just have a break,” he says. But it was always meant to be just that – a break. Sure, the pandemic has made it seem more permanent, but in fact, he may have been “taking as much time off as most people.”
Now, Acaster is back on his own terms. He’s spent the past few months appearing on random shows across the UK, and just last week he announced a series of US tour dates for his new show (aptly titled). hello hecklers). It was the news that gave his fans a collective sigh of relief.
Since the release of his own series on Netflix stock In 2019, Acaster graduated from his stature as a celebrity member of the UK show circuit to become the internet’s favorite comedian. Despite his complete lack of presence on social media, clips of him Discussion of Brexit and Piers Morgan often goes viral. He has developed a genre of comedy aimed at those in power, never holding back, and has captivated fans around the world with his unique brand of comedy – “modern, up-to-date, endearing sense of humor,” as Rob Brydon called him Acaster and Ed Gamble podcasts off the list.
Acaster began performing comedy in his early twenties in 2008, switching from dreams of performing in bands in his hometown of Kettering to stand-up. Some of his first major gigs were supporting Josie Long and Milton Jones on their own tours. They taught him the importance of character development on stage, which was an important part of Acaster’s comic alter ego. During the performance, Acaster walks with mischievous bragging and speaks quickly and confidently, his distinctive voice constantly fluctuating in pitch and peculiar rhythms. The person who kissed me on Zoom is calmer. His tone is low and he deliberately chooses his words as he sinks into his sofa.
The internet may have been instrumental in Acaster’s global success, but the comedian’s relationship with social media has gone further. He gave up everything in 2019 and is now releasing a satirical self-help guide James Exeter’s Guide to Quitting Social Media: Be the Best You Can Be and Save Yourself from Feeling Loneliness, Volume 1.
Written in the tone of motivational speakers constantly presented to him through the YouTube ad algorithm, the book sees Acaster preaching about his imagined life on and off social media: how he stumbled upon MySpace while researching the gardening site MySpade.com; How a short time in prison can be a good way to go offline. In fact, he gave up simply because he was bored with everything. The book was a blunt way to make fun of people who go offline and state that their lives are so much better, “As before social media was around, everyone was fine.”
Acaster knew that these online teachers were “objectively poisonous, preying on those in vulnerable situations”, yet he found them strangely admirable. “It was always a different person every time, sitting in a really expensive car and saying, ‘A year ago, I slept in a trash can and now I’m here and I’m going to tell you how you can do it the same way.'” Their main skill? Being able to speak in a stream of consciousness without To say “umm” or “err” or “you know.” Acaster paused.” And I mean, that’s a lesson for all of us. If you learn not to say such things… I think it opens a lot of doors for you.”
The book may have been written from a fictional character’s perspective, but it’s impossible not to read it in the voice of Acaster – or at least that voice on stage. “All my pause was in this exaggerated character, but sometimes I’m more of myself now. The line is a bit blurry,” he says. “Does he feel that people expect him to be more energetic when they meet him? He considers it.” Sometimes you make people like, ‘I thought you’d be more fun in real life’ [or] They will respond in a way like this what they wanted and you don’t give it to them. But that’s their thing. This ain’t me… If I’m not in full character I ask them “poppadoms or bread?” [his catchphrase on Off Menu]It’s up to them to agree to that.”
Acaster much prefers these interactions over the feeling of “always present” for fans on social media, anyway. Yes, they can message him every day on Instagram and read what he eats for breakfast on Twitter, but it’s a one-sided misconception. He explains, “Even for them, it’s not actually as fun as they think. It’s like eating the same food every day. You constantly eat a Mars bar every day, and in fact, it’s probably good to have a Mars bar as a treat every now and then. So I compare Myself in chocolate now,” he jokes self-deprecatingly.
Acaster has worked hard to open up on stage, but he doesn’t want to rely on his fans to validate his affection. in cold lasagnaReleased by Acaster as a pay-per-view special in 2019, the comedian spoke at length about his mental health: the show culminated in a story about his phone call to the Samaritans in the middle of filming a special for a very famous charity. The great british bakes. On stage, Exeter says these are feelings he’s dealt with. Then he jokes, “Don’t take this badly, but you’ll never be the first to take it.”
The line was important for two reasons. First, to stop the “rotting” expressions of pity he was receiving from the audience while discussing his mental health. Most importantly, he shows his fans, many of whom suffer the same way, that he can improve the situation. “I think it helps if someone goes, ‘Oh, by the way, I don’t feel like that right now. I did, but now I don’t. “I didn’t really want to romanticize this kind of thing and encourage people to just stay in it. I wanted to talk about doing the work, going to therapy, but doing the work any way I could…letting people know at the end of the show that things weren’t anymore like that. “
release cold lasagna Independently and not on an existing streaming device it was a risky decision for Acaster. But due to the personal nature of the content, he wanted to retain as much ownership as possible. “All of the phrasing on the show is as accurate as I can make it so I’m not misunderstood by the audience,” he explains. “I was very aware that if I published it, there would be people… who would post about it online out of context, and there would be people whose only experience of the show would be the out-of-context clips, or memes, or quotes, and it would become something different.”
There is one section of cold lasagnaHowever, this Take the tour on Twitter. In it, Acaster turns his sights on so-called “executive” comedians who have built their brands around “tough” material that “eliminates transgender people.” “Oh yeah, because you know who’s so late for the challenge? The trans community,” he jokes. Then he made a confession: “I used to name a comedian who had this routine, but it was always really awkward in the room. Because apparently, it’s 2019. Most people? I’m still more than happy to laugh at transgender people. No Laughing with equal comfort Ricky Gervais. “
The clip reappears whenever Gervais, Dave Chappelle, or any other comedian releases a new special featuring transgender jokes. How does Acaster feel to know that this video, which has been removed from the context of the show, was shared in this way? pause. Aaster considers his answer carefully; He seems to deliberately avoid mentioning Jervis’s name. “Well, I’m definitely happy because the clip used is the whole clip… it’s been kept in context, so that’s cool.” Friends often message him and ask if he’s okay with fans of these comedians criticizing him, but “I don’t see any of it, nor do I mind. If it’s people who disagree with that statement, I don’t really mind if they get mad at That or hate me.”
What he’s really hoping for is that well-meaning fans don’t just look to people like him — or “brave little cis boys,” he says in the special — to comment on transphobia in comics. “It’s all well and good, my comedy routine about it, [but] Sometimes people talk about it like it’s the thing that people keep sticking to in an argument. I know the argument is a bunch of comedians saying these things and so people responded with a clip of another comedian, and I get how that’s relevant, and I’m talking about them specifically. But there are so many great trans comedians at work today, and so many writers and thought articles being written on the subject are more straightforward and better than wearing aviator sunglasses and a sunset jacket.”
James Exeter skit criticizes Ricky Gervais’ private appearance
After registration cold lasagna In December 2019, Acaster took a break from standing. The tour was tough. He went to her excited to part with some of that character on stage and talk about his real life. Eventually, audience members would write online that Acaster was spending large portions of each show interacting with his teasers, unable to ignore their cries.
What that time afforded him was an opportunity to work on his relationship with the audience, deal with bullies, and think about how to protect his mental health on stage. He says, “I’m going to get into it knowing, ‘These are things that I didn’t really enjoy before, so let’s focus on these things and let’s focus on improving that, making this aspect of my performance better.'” To pick it up now from there and go, ‘Okay I don’t like all this stuff, but what are we going to do about it? How are we going to make sure that these things don’t spoil it for you?—that was really positive.” And then, Acaster says something he wouldn’t have felt possible a year ago: “I’m having a party tonight and I’m looking forward to it.”
James Exeter’s Guide to Quitting Social Media: Being the Best You Can Be and Saving Yourself from Feeling Loneliness, Volume 1 Released Now