Apr 172014

Robot - Standup ComedyStandup comedy has always been a very human art form that may seem robotic in the delivery of one-liners to less perceptive people. Even if standup has evolved into far more than just vaudevillian setups and punchlines and into lengthier ruminations on life, it shows us the human experience like nothing else. That’s why it might seem odd to think of artificial intelligence ever taking on an art form that depends strictly on the perceptive experience of human beings.

Appropriately enough, the U.K. saw a glimpse of the above recently with a robot doing standup comedy in front of a crowd as part of a new experiment. This study was part of a photography competition for the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. A picture of the robot doing standup won the photographic prize.

What made this interesting is that it went beyond being an interesting photograph of a robot reciting jokes into a microphone. It was really intended as a study into whether a robot can outperform a human and what’s needed to create a performance that captures audience attention.

Will RoboThespian Become a Template for Future Standup?

With the name of RoboThespian, you know the British had to be involved in this strange experiment. We all know the birth of comedy mostly came from the Brits anyway, and we continually steal from them in the comedic innovations they’ve created. However, have they started a new trend in robots becoming new stage performers and even someday doing standup comedy?

Despite being controlled backstage, the robot is alarmingly sophisticated in how it recites jokes and in the reaction it makes to audience feedback. It even adapts its comedic script based on audience reaction, which is artificial intelligence taken to alarming levels.

The question is whether Americans would ever want to see this implemented someday to a point where the robot operates under its own accord. With artificial intelligence increasing to near HAL 3000 levels and physical robotics advancing, don’t be surprised if entire shows will soon have robots performing on stage. This may even include new standup comedians who happen to be robots.

Then again, with RoboThespian above being merely an experiment, it may take only a mad scientist to turn robots into working standup comedians. There wouldn’t be any point either when standup comedy is also cathartic to human beings. It’s part of the symbiosis of giving back as well as providing something meaningful for one’s self.

Besides, the human experience is too complex for AI to ever understand completely. That particular nuance is something audiences can pick up on, which means standup comedy will likely continue to be the most human art form there is.

Come see our very human standup and improv comedians here at Voodoo Comedy Playhouse. Contact us to find out how to purchase tickets, and see our upcoming schedule.

Apr 102014

Voodoo Comedy Playhouse - Denver KaraokeIt’s perfectly natural to feel nervous when you get up in front of an unknown crowd to sing your heart out. However, there are things you can do before you head to the local Denver karaoke hangout so you are ready for the action. With these tips, you can step up to the mic with confidence.

Practice Ahead of Time

Practice with your favorite songs at home. Record yourself and perform in front of the mirror. Make sure you use different songs so you have a long list from which to choose. When you feel more comfortable with the songs you perform, you will feel less nervous and go with the flow. 

Use Your Natural Strengths

Everyone has natural strengths that can be useful when participating in karaoke. If your friends would categorize you as a clown, ham it up when you step in front of the mic. Or perhaps you are more sensual. Choose a slow song and really let your natural sex appeal shine through. Don’t try to be something you aren’t because it will make your entire performance awkward.

Get Lost in It

If you don’t at least act comfortable on the stage, chances are people will notice. This can create an even more uncomfortable atmosphere. The best thing you can do is forget anyone else is even there. Focus in on a friend or a certain point at the bar and just let it go! The more into the song you get, the easier it will be to belt out your favorite tunes. No one will notice if you make a mistake so don’t worry. Just sing!

Many people are anxious about singing in front of other people, especially if they think they are no good at it. However, that’s what karaoke is all about! Practicing a few songs ahead of time can help you feel more comfortable. Most importantly, be yourself and have fun. After all, that’s what everyone else is doing!

If you are looking for a great time on a Tuesday, Friday or Saturday, contact us about our Denver karaoke nights. You will have the time of your life!

Science and Standup Comedy Collide

 Posted by at 1:54 pm
Apr 032014
Science and Standup Comedy Collide

Standup comedians use many of the same principals scientists use to form their craft, in that comedy routines are based on observations and trial and error.  The ideas are tested over and over again and sometimes discoveries are made. Perhaps that is why so many comedians over the years have been intrigued with scientists.  Here … (read more)

Mar 272014
"12 Years a Slave" Writer John Ridley Once Worked in Standup Comedy: What Lessons Might Have Been Learned?

Standup comedy has bred numerous stars that have gone on to the highest heights in the world of entertainment. Some of the brightest comedic talents on TV and in movies all started on a stage telling jokes, either as a scripted performance or through improv. One particular comic, though, took a journey into an entirely … (read more)

Mar 132014
Can Anyone Learn Improv Comedy? Feeding Off Fellow Improv Comedians for Inspiration

Improv comedy is an art form that some people have probably thought was overly inclusive to those with natural comedic gifts. While it’s true that you need to be razor sharp in comedy invention during improv performances, is it something anyone can learn to do with practice? With improv courses taught here at Voodoo Comedy … (read more)

Mar 062014
A Thinking Man's Standup Comedy: The Late George Carlin

Standup comedy comes in several flavors, just like ice cream, whether everyday slice of life, self-effacing, or thinking man’s standup comedy.  The thinking man’s comedy is quite a bit deeper, more philosophical.  And one of the legend’s of standup comedy–the late George Carlin–took the thinking man’s comedy to distant parts of the universe. The evolution … (read more)

Feb 212014
Improv Comedy and Kids: Can They Learn How to Better Deal with Life Using Improvisation?

We constantly hear about the differences between standup comedy and improv comedy, though we seldom hear about how either one can be used in the real world. While being a standup comedian can probably help you use quicker wit or help you be more observational in the real world, the same can be said of … (read more)