How James Acaster’s stand-up special became a live-streaming viral hit

Words by DICE

Find out how DICE and PBJ joined forces to give comedy fans a very special night in

James Acaster’s critically acclaimed tour ‘Cold Lasagne Hate Myself 1999’ finished on a high in Dalston in 2019. His agency PBJ Management recorded the final show of the tour, intending to release the recording at a later date for fans who hadn’t been able to go to a show. But then, their plans had to change.

Making the most of a difficult situation

After the pandemic hit, PBJ Management were looking for the right opportunity to release the recording. The team wanted to make sure that fans could enjoy some of the magic of live comedy from home and create an exclusive experience. They approached DICE, and we identified the opportunity for a live-stream premiere. 

“Without live gigs available, we knew we had to turn to streaming, but the idea of a Zoom comedy gig wasn’t appealing”, said Daisy Skepelhorn of PBJ. “The DICE streams we‘d seen were better, high-quality productions, so we knew it would be a good fit. Also, it was obvious that the team really understood our comedians and their work.”



Tickets sold


Sales on the day


Countries in attendance


Ticket price

Getting the word out

To generate buzz about the live-stream premiere, James announced it on his podcast with an official presale code. Every week leading up to the stream, there was a weekly reminder about the event to keep fans informed and excited. DICE also secured press coverage on Times Radio, The Chris Evans Breakfast Show and TalkSport’s morning show with Alan Brazil. Sine Digital ran a targeted marketing campaign in the US, generating 4,553 ticket sales just a week before the event. 

This premiere was PBJ’s first foray into streaming, so DICE provided technical and production support. Our streaming experts secured a custom video player and coordinated the rights management for the recorded content. As always, DICE’s Fan Support team offered advice and guidance for fans, some of whom were watching a stream for the first time.

A night in to remember

The results? ‘Cold Lasagne Hate Myself 1999’ premiered on DICE last December to great success, with 29.8K fans buying tickets. Joining from 81 countries, the audience exceeded the capacity of the O2 arena – in this case, streaming was able to accommodate more fans than a physical event could have. On the day of the event, 26% of tickets were sold, marking a significantly different type of purchasing behaviour: when it comes to streaming, last minute purchases can boost ticket sales by up to 30%.

Capturing audience data with no extra work

Ticketing the event through DICE also meant that PBJ had access to valuable insights about their audience. Information such as their location, what kind of events they’re buying tickets for, and what they’re streaming will help PBJ market their events in the future with no additional marketing spend. The live-stream premiere model yields high rewards with little resources needed. 

PBJ were more than satisfied with the results. “The stream was hugely successful thanks to the team at DICE who made sure that everything ran smoothly. There have been great responses to it and we’re glad that fans had such positive experiences,” Skepelhorn said.

We’re on a mission to get people out more