Can ChatGPT write stand-up comedy?

Can ChatGPT write stand-up comedy? We tested this important question in front of a live studio audience.

Can ChatGPT write stand-up comedy

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AI is coming for your job – unless you’re a stand-up comedian. Could comedy writers be the only ones safe from redundancy? Can ChatGPT write stand-up comedy? The art of the joke has long been the remit of those with a human touch, so let’s put the bots to the test. Try reading “What is ChatGPT – and what is it used for?” or “How to use ChatGPT on mobile” to save yourself from what’s about to unfold down the page.

We made ChatGPT write a stand-up set, performed out loud to a live studio audience (of our co-workers). Here’s how that went…

Can ChatGPT write stand-up comedy?

Talal, our brave and intrepid Head of Digital, steps up to the plate. He’s about to go where no man (or machine) has gone before – performing his stand-up debut in front of an entire company.

I wasn’t kidding, this really happened.

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The audience nods, clearly aware they’re in for a treat. The setup was simple, one man and his laptop, armed with the following prompt:

“Write a stand-up comedy set for a room full of nerds”

We made ChatGPT write a comedy stand-up routine – Here’s how it went.

“Good evening, fellow nerds! How’s everyone doing tonight?” he begins with admirable confidence despite the consequences, “I gotta say, this is the only room where I can make a “Star Wars” reference and not have people look at me like I’ve lost my mind.”

Silence.

“You know you’re a nerd when your idea of a hot date is watching a documentary about quantum mechanics while munching on pizza shaped like the Fibonacci sequence. But hey, who needs romance when you’ve got a TARDIS and a lightsaber, am I right?”

Perhaps they didn’t hear the punch line. 

We made it scrap the set and re-write it in real time, this time a little edgier.

“Ladies and gentlemen, make some noise if you’re ready to unleash your inner nerd tonight! Now, before we get started, let me warn you that this comedy set might get a little edgy.” Everyone settles into their seat, slightly more on-board, “So if you’re easily offended, just pretend I’m using binary code, and you’ll be fine.” The audience sighs.

It didn’t get much better. There were no rapid-fire jokes or one liners. Promoters would not be able to use their go-to favourite phrase “A night of hilarity”. The only improvement came when I told it to replicate the style of talented professional comedians. Perhaps their biases, personal anecdotes, nuance on current events, even their humorous take on politics could get Chat GPT a laugh?

It could not. Even worse, the closing jokes were not jokes at all. AI Chatbots, at the end of their sets, like to give an extremely vague motivational speech.

Even as artificial intelligence advances, regular stand-up comedy sets are still the only ones in which the audience laughs.

Can ChatGPT be funny?

In conclusion, it totally bombed. Even with his natural charm and wit, Talal, at the mercy of artificially intelligent comedy writing, got just one laugh (I told ChatGPT to be more edgy and it said something it probably shouldn’t have).

In the light of comedian Sarah Silverman joining a lawsuit against OpenAI and Meta for allegedly stealing her bits to train their models, this means one of two things: Either the tech giants did a terrible job of replicating real human comedians, or the ones they allegedly stole aren’t the funny ones.

Is there hope for AI Comedy?

Considering everything you’ve just read, you may be surprised to hear that there are actual AI comedy shows happening right now.

Laugh GPT is San Francisco’s first AI-powered stand-up comedy show. Held at The Savoy Tivoli, you can buy tickets now, and they’ve even been featured in the Washington Post!

“The humor comes from how bad the AI is,” says Victor Treviño, one of the comedians involved in humanity’s last stand-up hurrah.

Ironically, it seems to be comedians having the last laugh. That wasn’t AI-written, I’m quite proud of that one.

Steve is the AI Content Writer for PC Guide, writing about all things artificial intelligence. He currently leads the AI reviews on the website.