Why GPT-3 is Good for Comedy, or: Don’t Ever Do an AMA On Reddit

Of everything I’ve gotten GPT-3 to do comedy has been the easiest and the most fun. It has a superhuman capacity for generating absurdity, and often carries a joke to the upteenth degree, as it did in my Jerry Seinfeld and Eddie Murphy Talk Shit About San Francisco skit where Jerry compares SF to shit sixty eight times. Exaggeration and repetition are well known comedic devices, and The Rule of Funny says “Any violation of continuity, logic, physics, or common sense is permissible if the result gets enough of a laugh” which turns out to be perfect for AI generated humor.

The most difficult part for creating the sketch below was getting the AI to do a scene change (which is why I added “Larry leaves the room.” near the end, and getting it to wrap up with something resembling an ending. Toward the end I turned up the ‘Presence Penalty’ in the OpenAI Playground to try to make it do something other than keep adding lines of dialogue.

As with all my other GPT-3 posts, the AI wrote everything except for the bolded prompts. I did rerun lines until I got answers I thought were funny, but most lines didn’t take much rerunning – in most cases it was a decision between multiple funny options. In this case, I also occasionally saved lines I thought were funny but didn’t fit the current context and reinserted them later.

(Nothing mean intended toward Larry or Peter. Sorry guys, this thing took on a life of its own.)

Here’s a standup comedy show by Peter Thiel, Elon Musk and Larry Page about how much it sucks to run a company.

Larry: I think I’m going to do a reddit AMA. 

Peter: I think that’s a terrible idea. “You know how brutal they are on Reddit, right?”

Larry: “I do.”

Peter: “It’s the internet. That’s like stepping into a bear cage.”

Larry: “I’m not scared of bears.”

Peter: “Yeah, but think about it. When you go in there, they’re all going to be…”

Larry: “I don’t care if I get eaten by bears. You’re always telling me I should get out more and socialize.”

Peter: “Socializing on the internet is like if you walked into a bar and everyone there had only read about alcohol, but never actually tried it. You’ll be torn to shreds.”

Larry: “I don’t understand how the internet could possibly be worse than some of the stuff that’s happening in the news these days.”

Peter: “The news is funny because you know it’s fake, right? It’s not actually that bad. But if you go on Reddit and tell people that one plus one is two, they’re going to Photoshop your face onto a frog and put you in a Hitler mustache and have you firing rockets into space.”

Larry: “That sounds stupid.”

Peter: “They’re going to Photoshop your face on top of John Travolta and make it look like you’re in Pulp Fiction, dancing to Madonna. And it’s not going to be a good look for you.”

Larry: “I could dance.”

Peter: “Yes, you can, but that’s not the point.  They’re going to Photoshop your face onto a starfish, and they’re going to call you an alien cephalopod overlord from another dimension.”

Larry: “What the hell is that?”

Peter: “It doesn’t matter. And then they’re going to Photoshop your face onto Donald Trump and make it look like you have a dead raccoon on your head, and that is going to be the face of Google for the next ten years.”

Larry: “What is the point?”

Peter: “The point is, the internet is a freakin’ nightmare. The Reddit crowd is like the virtual version of the school bully. And if you step out on your own, it’s going to take you out behind the bleachers and kick your ass. It’s going to hit you with a chair and kick you while you’re down, and then it’s going to pee on your unconscious body and start screaming about how you deserved it, because you did something bad.”

Larry: “Wait, what did I do?”

Peter: “You didn’t do anything. That’s my point. You’re going to be completely innocent, but they’re going to put you on trial, and they’re going to drag you through the mud, and when it’s all over, they’re going to spit on you and throw you in the dumpster.”

Larry: “That’s terrible.”

Peter: “It is. And then they’re going to take your head and put it on a picture of a cartoon pirate, and they’re going to make you apologize for everything that ever happened in the world.”

Larry: “But what did I do?”

Peter: “That’s what I’m trying to tell you, Larry. You didn’t do anything.”

Larry: “But if I didn’t do anything, why would I apologize?”

Peter: “I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. They’ll just think it’s funny, and they’re going to do it anyway. They’ll take your head and they’ll put it on the body of a centaur, except they won’t be able to find a centaur so it will be the body of a centauress instead, and they’re going to call you Princess Leia for some reason, even though you’re obviously not a princess. And then, for no good reason, they’re going to put your head on the body of an orangutan and put a gold chain around your neck.

Larry: “I don’t understand why you’re so against me doing this. You’re always telling me I should be more like Steve Jobs and get out there and be a showman.”

Peter: “Well, Steve Jobs was good at figuring out what people wanted before they knew they wanted it. And he did it by just sort of getting out there and doing stuff, and not caring what people thought of him. I am telling you, in no uncertain terms, that what Reddit wants is to make you cry.”

Larry: “No. They don’t.”

Peter: “Yes, they do. They want to take you, and reduce you down to a little pixelated version of yourself, so they can kick you all over the internet. It is a bad idea, and you should not do it.”

Larry: “But I still want to do it.”

Peter: “I know, but you shouldn’t. 

Larry: “I think I’m going to do it.”

Peter: “Don’t do it.” 

Larry: “I’m going to do it.”

Peter: “You’re going to get ripped apart, Larry. I’m begging you not to do it.”

Larry: “I’m doing it.”

Peter: “This is a terrible, terrible idea. “

Larry: “I’ve got to go now.”

Peter: “I’m telling you that now. This is a bad idea.”

Larry: “Bye.”

Larry leaves the room.

Peter: “This is a bad idea.”

cut to Larry at his computer typing away at reddit, and posting the AMA.

Peter sits in his office, staring out the window, muttering: “I’m telling you it’s a bad idea. A bad idea.”

He gets a text from Larry, that says “Oops.”

The final scene shows Larry standing in front of a photoshopped image of himself as a Hitler-mustache wearing alien dancing with John Travolta while Donald Trump, George Bush and Pope Benedict the second stand around laughing.

Larry: (In voiceover) “After my AMA on reddit, my girlfriend broke up with me.”

Larry goes home and puts a picture of himself on a desk with a sign that says “kick me.”

Larry: (In voiceover) “The next day, I got kicked off of a plane for playing solitaire on my phone. My neighbor spray painted my house and called it a UFO.”

Larry sits at a cafe with a sign that says “dumb alien.”

Larry: (In voiceover) “Somebody hacked into my gmail account and said that I hate America.”

Larry: (In voiceover) “My car got stolen.”

Larry: (In voiceover) “And then I got hit by a car.”

Larry: (In voiceover) “But the worst thing was that I had to live with myself.”

Larry: (In voiceover) “All because I did an AMA on Reddit.”

Larry sips his coffee, and then the screen cuts to black.

Larry: (In voiceover) “Don’t ever do an AMA on Reddit.”

Alternative Ending

Larry: (In voiceover)”After my AMA on reddit, my girlfriend broke up with me.”

Larry goes home and puts a picture of himself on a desk with a sign that says “kick me.”

The camera pans to the right, and we see that Peter Thiel is standing there wearing a Donald Trump mask and a cowboy hat, kicking Larry. The credits roll.

Discussion on Twitter