Whilst Colleen Lavin’s Do The Robots Think I'm Funny? is an interesting experiment and indicative of our fascination with AI, it’s not a particularly well-structured or funny show. It’s fine, after all the main selling point is the AI she's developed to heckle her if it doesn’t think she’s performing well enough rather than the comedy, but the lack of it makes the hour very long.
An interesting experiment
It's practically a talk with just the added novelty of an AI analysing and heckling the show throughout. Lavin has an extremely nervous energy that doesn’t quite allow for the narrative to flow, making her jokes feel forced. Whilst some of them are funny, her tone and intonation don’t always indicate where the joke is, so it's hard to know where to laugh. The set is very anecdotal in that Lavin is telling a story about her family and there's the odd self-deprecatory moment but the jokes are less funyn and more statements that you might tell a friend when complaining about life. Rather than sounding outraged or making a joke, it does sound like she’s just venting. Even though the experiment is the focus of the show and not the stand-up, we’d hope that there would be at least something for us to laugh at and be entertained by. In reality, the time passes really slowly to the point where we can almost feel it ticking away. We can see the experiment working better with a tried and tested stand-up comedian who could engage with us and the AI more, but because Lavin herself doesn’t particularly show us that she has the skills to both perform a routine and make an off-the -cuff quip in response to the AI’s heckle, it all seems very stilted that even the AI generated heckles become a little lacklustre.
The hypothesis and subsequent experiment behind the show Do The Robots Think I’m Funny? is interesting especially considering the rise of AI and our awareness of what it could mean for our society. This hour clearly shows that AI can be used as a tool for stand-up comedians to hit or determine a certain jokes per minute in a sort of mechanical, sapping-the-soul-from-comedy way.