When AI becomes a stand up comedian

Knock Knock.

Who’s there?

Failed AI comedian.

Failed AI comedian who?

Failed AI comedian looking for a gig.

Knock Knock.

Who’s there?

Failed AI comedian.

Failed AI comedian who?

Failed AI comedian can’t get a laugh.

Knock Knock.

Who’s there?

AI looking for a laugh

AI looking for a laugh who?

AI looking for a laugh from you.

Knock Knock.

Who’s there?

No one.

No one who?

No one software.

Knock Knock.

Who’s there?

Funny robot.

Funny robot who?

No one software.

On Comedians in Cars Getting coffee, Jerry Seinfeld talks with many different guests about how hard stand up comedy is. From the conversations, it seems it’s emotional grind, as bad nights are common as material is being developed and tested.

This begs the question, lacking emotion, could an Artificial Intelligence (AI) be better at comedy than a person?

Let’s look at the current process most comedians go through, at the macro level:

  1. Write new material
  2. Rehearse material
  3. Try new material with any old material that’s proven
  4. Eliminate/Revise material that didn’t work and loop back to step 1.

Now when AI does this process, the main difference is it can likely skip #2, measure laughs in step #3, and try again with the data gained. However, here’s the issue, there is still work to be done in getting the audience. Without feeling terrible having let the audience down, there isn’t as much incentive for the AI to work even harder, as the comedian would. Without having “friends” there isn’t anyone for the AI to test material on. People aren’t going to keep listening to thousands or millions of terrible jokes to get to that one nugget of truth. The data also doesn’t currently exist that has measured laughs against old jokes, so it can’t train in advance.

There are many things that require creativity and emotion that humans excel at. The future is going to force us to develop our skills in that realm in order to remain relevant.

Flex your art early and often.