James Acaster

James Acaster

Acaster has also been nominated a record four times for the Edinburgh Comedy Award from 2012 to 2015, but never won. He did scoop the breakthrough award and the best show award at the Chortle Awards 2015 for Recognise.
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James Acaster and Josh Widdicombe may take Hypothetical on tour

'It would be really fun to do a live version'

James Acaster and Josh Widdicombe could take their panel show Hypothetical out on the road.

The show, in which guest comics have to figure out their response to a series of hypothetical situations, returns to the Dave channel later this month.

And in an interview to promote the new season, both comics were asked if they would ever take it on tour for a live stage version.

‘I would like to,’ Acaster said. ‘Often with the hypotheticals there’s so much that we can’t include as the episodes have to be edited. It would be really fun to do a live version to show people the full journey and how we travel from A to B.’

Widdicombe joked: ‘I’d do anything if the money was right,’ before adding: ‘Yes, of course! I really enjoy making the show, so why not?’

The pair also say the forthcoming fourth series is also their best, having tightened up the format. 

‘We’re definitely in much more of a rhythm with it now,’ said Acaster. ‘We’re a lot better at zipping things along and arriving where we want to be more quickly. 

‘Also, each series has had a little bit of a format tweak and in this series we have the best rounds in the way they flow from one to the other. I really like how varied it is this time, with a quickfire round speeding up the pace between the longer form rounds.’

‘We throw very short hypotheticals at the guests and they have to answer as quickly as possible without thinking about it too much. So their answers often don’t make any sense, but they are, if anything, the more fun answers.

‘One example is asking the players to come up with a new name for seagulls. Ninia Benjamin just said, "Shit on my fucking chips." And that was it. I remember that one pretty clearly. 

Widdicombe added: ‘This is a huge change to the show which has really worked. It’s the kind of change where you end up asking, "Why weren’t we doing this in the first place?" Everything about this series feels sharper and snappier. We’re in the sweet spot at the moment.’

Other guests on the new series include Frank Skinner, Roisin Conaty, Bill Bailey, Liza Tarbuck, Guz Khan, Lou Sanders, Richard Ayoade, Jo Brand, Jack Dee, Esther Manito, Toussaint Douglass, Maisie Adam, Chole Petts and a ‘very competitive’ Victoria Cohen Mitchell.

Widdicombe said the best sort of guest was ‘someone who takes it too seriously and really cares. Someone who engages with it on an overly analytical level and plays the game too much.

‘The best comedy entertainment shows are the ones where the competitors are lost in the moment, lost in the game, and don’t realise they’re on TV. They’re not so much trying to be funny, they’re being funny as a consequence of engaging with the situation. That’s what you’re looking for from your guests.

‘With the older hands, it feels more exciting when they act out a silly scene because you’ve never seen them do something like that in their long career. You’re surprised when you see Frank Skinner dressed as a one-man band, because, as far as I’m aware, that’s never happened on TV before. Jack Dee is brilliant too, he really got into it. He’s much sillier than you think he is.’

Hypothetical returns to Dave at 10pm on Wednesdays from May 18, and episodes will also be available on demand from UKTV Play. The pair have also just launched a podcast based on the series.

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Published: 8 May 2022

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