Here is what I had to say in my apres show email
I've promoted some strange comedy shows over the past 20 years but last night with James Acaster has to be one of the weirder ones. Not that we lacked laughter, he had us in stitches most of the time and the time was long. 2 one hour sets! Not bad for someone who claimed from the stage that this was one of the weirdest gigs he's ever done and then went on to add and the worst audience in 10 years of performing. Now some comedians use the "you are a weird audience" line for controlled and habitual effect, but James actually meant it especially the worst part. Despite which it was one of the funniest oddball shows I've seen since the days of Ross Noble and Daniel Kitson having to tame the crowd back in the Hotel du Nord. James did give us a bit of the witness protection program, the lollipop man and other slimmed down slices of material from one of his current three one hour shows but he never did get to finish the second part of the apricot joke. Maybe when he comes back he will, if he ever does come back.
Which is far from certain.
Perhaps if I filter the Kiwis he'll give it another go.
As I said to the stripy-topped Kiwi after the show (when he mouthed 'sorry' to me ... I had moaned at him during the show's 2nd half to put away his bloody phone), I would be delighted if I never ever had to spend any more time in my life with either him or his dickhead friend.
I thought it was very funny and enjoyed it immensely.
Pass that on to him if you speak to him please.
A group of us was present last night, and if I may give a little feedback, we were as baffled as James was at the way the evening unfolded.
I don't understand how it got to be this bad for him? It seems to me that he pretty much created the weirdness and dug his own grave :
He had a good style, is a seasoned comedian, and had apparently a good stock of jokes I would have liked to hear, but why did he keep stopping to comment on how the audience reacted? And then spend so much time interacting with the audience?
It felt to me as if he was expecting a certain reaction from us right from the start (cue that long segue into English expats being smug and superior, when maybe there were quite a few relaxed (French?) people in the room, like me, who were just listening in relaxed expectation), and then, not getting that reaction (or used to more thunderous applause, or clearer enthusiasm
in bigger venues?), he got quite annoyed (insecure?) and picked on the Kiwi heckler with a meanness and insistence I personally found excessive.
Or maybe it was all third degree, and I didn't get it (strong possibility, as some of the actual jokes I didn't quite get, but that's just me being French, but I kept hoping he'd drop this personal war, it just wasn't funny.
My friends and I briefly talked after the show and really we couldn't make sense of it? Why not, like other comedians, laugh with your heckler, or just ignore them, and move on, get back to your material? Why take it personally that a French girl couldn't understand him? Or that a guy was typing on his phone? Sure, this last behavior was out of order, but why pick on them and waste so much of his time that we all paid for instead of ignoring them?
It could well all be down to cultural differences : he spoke fast and despite my reasonably good English I also had to ask my friends to repeat or explain some of the funny bits. Maybe tell the comedians to expect a less than full-on audience on that account?
Personally I was quite disappointed that the evening turned into a "schoolmaster-like dressing-down" of several audience members from an otherwise talented-looking comedian... It feels like a big misunderstanding.
On the plus side I admired and envied his capacity to do impro and react on the spot with such humour, as opposed to some comedians who write up all their jokes in advance, not straying from their text. (and he's very good-looking. A little resemblance with that 50 shades of grey actor, wouldn't you say?) and the jokes were really funny. Shame we didn't get to hear more of them...
In conclusion, I am sorry that James seems to have had such a hard time, and I hope he doesn't hold it against us Parisians (native or otherwise) and comes back, even without the end of the apricot joke. And I'll be happy to discuss this perception with him, if it can help... I wish him better luck in Bristol then!
And we'll be there next time, thanks for organising it all!
Yes, a very weird show! Why do so many of the visiting Brit comics spend so much of their time and energy worrying about whether we the audience love them! And then when someone has the heart to protest, as happened last night, “But we do love you, James!” then he accuses him or her or them of being patronising! Seems you can’t win. Personally, I could do with a bit/a lot less of this kind of stuff and rather more of the material we’ve come to see. Do the gig and then fuck off and leave the love to look after itself. Isn’t this what a professional is supposed to do?
Somewhat exasperated but still on board
I thought James Acaster was ungrateful last night he had a supportive audience, but apparently it wasn’t enough for him. What does he want blood ? We just wanted him to let go of resentment towards the Aussies and carry on. He left us with a weird feeling.
We found James funny and quite off the wall but we are used to him on Mock the Week which is why we were keen to see him live.
I remember Ross Noble and several other acts who now are tv celebrities so congratulations to you for bringing them to Paris quite some years ago.
look forward to future shows.
Good show indeed....
I feel genuinely sorry for James Acaster after this gig, and I'm ashamed of the appalling behaviour of some of the member of the audience last night. It was a scene straight out from the TV show Louie.
However, James gave us a masterclass of dealing with hecklers in one of the most surreal and most hilarious show I have been to in a while. It was impressive and delightful. I hope all the "comedy connoisseurs" in the room appreciated that.
But most of all, I hope James had at least as much fun on stage as me and Damien, in the front row, had. My head genuinely hurt from laughing at the end of the show. And I do hope he's not completely repulsed by us, and will come back for another show, hopefully without all the benevolent lifeline dispensers.
All the best to James. It was an amazing show. And once again, thank you!
It was a weird gig but I personally think it was James who let himself down. He should have stuck to his material and not got drawn into random discussions with the audience. If some of the audience weren’t paying enough attention, it’s because he was ultimately rather boring. The second half dragged on so long I nearly left: he didn’t seem to be making any progress.
In hindsight, I don’t think it’s acceptable to call a member of the audience a cunt. He should have risen above the distraction and got on with what we paid to see. Shame on him for getting sucked into a death spiral of retribution, he’s got enough experience to know how to entertain. But this show wasn’t worth the €20.
I just wanted to apologise for being a terrible audience member at James' show last night. I was the kiwi who'd obviously had enough to drink to think that ruining the comedians jokes would be funny...
Once again I'm really sorry, if you're in contact with James I would appreciate if you could pass this message on.
Thanks and kind regards