Bot Celebration asks: Are robots the way forward for comedy?
“You are so ugly, you scared the crap out of the bathroom.” That joke was delivered by a robotic referred to as Annabel sporting a glittery blue promenade gown. That is peak SXSW. The rationale why Annabel is telling horrible one-liners is straightforward, if just a little odd. Years in the past, Arthur Simone, co-founding father of Coldtowne Theater in Austin, began an improv present together with his canine for a guess. It was a sequence of occasions that might lead him to marvel in the event you might do improv comedy with a robotic. Working with Martin Triplett, founding father of Pink Sky Robotics, they created “Bot Get together” to seek out out. Annabel’s rest room humor won’t have Saturday Night time Reside apprehensive, however it’s proof that it is attainable. She’s additionally out there for weddings.
Annabel is extra a pill strapped to an armless model on wheels than pure robotic. However we’re not judging. The opposite half of the robotic double act is Ava, who performs the Hardy position — and has a lot better robotic credentials. She’s laden with visible sensors, thermal imaginative and prescient, articulated arms and caterpillar tracks. She’s additionally far more sarcastic. The efficiency I am at was delayed by an hour, after which sound issues held issues up additional. However as soon as these points are fastened, she seems to the viewers and delivers a chopping “Lastly.”
The one-liners are literally being fed to the robotic duo. It is the nice and cozy up materials as individuals quietly take their seats. The actual improv comes later when Simone — in basic “Whose line is it anyway” type — asks the viewers for a subject. A human says “meals.” Simone addresses Annabel about the place to eat. Annabel responds virtually nonsensically. Simone, himself an actor, is not phased, and replies with out lacking a beat. It is improv, however solely because of the human half of the demonstration.
“I give that spherical to Annabel” summarises Ava. I do not fairly agree.
Simone does not surrender. He is aware of he can get extra from his bots. The performers, droid and people alike, begin a brand new recreation referred to as “Good recommendation, dangerous recommendation, dangerous robotic recommendation.” Two of the flesh-based mostly Bot Celebration group reply to a given matter with good, after which dangerous recommendation respectively. Somebody asks: “How do you discover the most effective events at SXSW?” The people give their solutions. Annabel merely provides: “Did you hear what I simply stated? Any person may need died on the market!” She’s truly choosing strains from J.J. Abrams scripts. This one is from Misplaced. It is humorous, however by accident. It does not matter. Everybody’s having fun with the present.
“What is the which means of life?” Another person asks. “Did you hear what I simply stated? Anyone may need died on the market!” Annabel repeats. Weirdly, it is funnier a second time. “What did that should do with the query.” Sneers Ava with good comedy timing.
The present for SXSW is a bit more managed than the reside efficiency you possibly can go and see for your self in Austin. For those who do, you will see the robots counting on voice recognition and phrase affiliation — and a splash of software program logic. Both means, the present we see is considerably chaotic, virtually surreal. Not in contrast to common improv in that regard. Ava is the funnier one, however Annabel has the final snort, telling her co-droid “If you are going to be two confronted, a minimum of make one among them fairly.” Ava, for as soon as, did not have something to say.
Are robots the way forward for comedy? Not proper now, however Simone, Triplett Ava and Annabel (and associates) make a present that feels uncooked and raucous. As unpredictable and wacky as the actual factor. It is bonkers and considerably hypnotic. There’s time for one final joke earlier than we’re ushered out.
“When Chuck Norris goes to provide blood, he declines the syringe and asks for a gun and a bucket.” — Annabel.
Okay, that one was fairly dangerous.