James Acaster is like a mixture of Road Runner and Wile E Coyote. He loiters patiently, safe in the knowledge he's the master of his domain, ready to zip off in a new direction at any second and leave you in a trail of dust with the feeling that you almost caught him.
At the same time, he is tenacious and inventive in coming up with new ways to catch his prey. He sets traps both simple and complex that the audience revel being snared in.
Wordy cartoon analogies aside, Acaster is a master at holding an audience for precisely the right length of time before letting his punchline drop. With a knowing glance or a simple point of his finger, combined with a perfect pause, he sets up lines that are impossible to see coming. This constant barrage of surprise, delivered at such a cool calculated pace is a joy to watch.
A further joy is Acaster’s graceful use of comedic devices. He sneaks in call backs that should be blatant but are so subtly placed and delightfully clever that they instead incite applause. He makes the mic stand and stool his props and engages them for misdirection while setting up yet another big joke. If you see him, and get a chance between the laughs, admire a professional at work.