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Posts Tagged ‘comedy’

I love Robin Williams.

Robin Williams is a hero of mine. But that’s not really a deep enough concept to express his role in my life. I have absolutely shaped my approach to life around what I perceived of him as a hero. I never met him. I never received fan mail back from him or did a stand up routine next to him. I don’t have any remarkable story about him – except that I stayed up late, rented, borrowed my way into every piece of work he put out. From Mork and Mindy to the Comic Relief stuff to all of his movies to every late night appearance… I took in all of it as some source-book of how to interact, how to think, how to absorb the world so fully you can be in all of those situations and BE REMARKABLE.

As a high school senior I thought deeply about the idea of Julliard because of him. I imagined a future in which I could go out to the world and say things he said… not because I rehearsed it but because I was speaking honestly in my synthesis of everything I was taking in. I wanted to be that good only better… even faster on my feet. Even quicker with my wit. Even deeper with my knowledge. Anywhere, in any circle, at any moment.

And make no mistake, I’m not delusional about Performance vs. Real Life. I read anything I could of his non-performance experiences – from his activism and social engagement to his personal struggles to his ideas about comedy to his appreciation of J. Winters. Robins Williams life, in all its facets, speaks profoundly to me.

For most of my life the person I’ve been mostly compared to in my approach to everything, even from my own mouth, is Robin Williams. (and I not only don’t hate it, I love it. I want to be that.) I’m drawn to this engagement with the world:

KNOW EVERYTHING YOU POSSIBLE CAN

LISTEN TO EVERYTHING (EVERYTHING!) and EVERYONE (EVERYONE!) AROUND YOU

SYNTHESIZE VERY QUICKLY

TRY ANY IDEA

10000000 jokes (ideas) is bound to deliver 1 GOOD ONE, SO KEEP GOING

ENGAGE EVERYONE SINCERELY and SERIOUSLY

WALK A BILLION MILES IN EVERYONE ELSES SHOES

SWEAT

Yes, Dead Poets Society is one of my top 5 movies. Good Morning Vietnam is also in the top 5. Good Will Hunting is such an important movie to me….. …. …. All these things are quite obvious. Robin Williams dealt with and engaged and seriously considered the entirety of the human experience. For me he is the ultimate synthesis of this absurd and beautiful world.

The vortex that is postmortem analysis will never change the strange loop that lives on through me and others. Posit what we want about mental illness and depression and comedy and hollywood or whatever else we will try to make it all tidy, it doesn’t matter. Robins Williams is a buddha. He’s one of those rare convergences of vitality that infuses many other souls with purpose. I love you, Robin. Thanks for helping make me, me.

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I propose one hard test for the progress of comp sci.  I’ve laid the ground work for a computational engine that can write late night talk show monologues as well as the human writers.

Do you think it’s possible?

Here’s my basic idea…code forth coming.

—GENERATIVE JOKE ENGINE——

Some Basic Info
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computational_humor

Mathematicas and Humor, a book by John Allen Paulos

Philosophy of Humor/Theories of Humor
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy_of_humor
http://www.iep.utm.edu/h/humor.htm

Some useful mathematical theory
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catastrophe_theory

Liguistics
http://www.tomveatch.com/else/humor/paper/humor.html

Joke Generator
http://grok-code.com/12/how-to-write-original-jokes-or-have-a-computer-do-it-for-you/

Potential Ideas
Simple Program based on Replacement rules of Subjects, Relationships, Events

Simple Program of puns, word combinations, definition crossing

Simple programs and then an rich interface that uses and avatar or on screen talent to “tell” the selected jokes.  Would prefer it to all be computer based as we want to find out whether the “telling” of a joke contains a lot (most?) of the humor.
How to do this:

Prep: Create a database of common objects, slang terms, relationship descriptions

a) parse the news each night for subjects, relationships, objects, events

b) enumerate all jokes (basically sentence combinations) using replacement of subjects, objects, relationships with objects in the prep database.

c) run training algo against real monologues (what jokes are likely to be used based on past jokes)

d) tune it

e) create inflection and pausing algorithm that “tells the joke better”

We can exclude the use of existing monologues to train the algorithms and instead use an audience (internet visitors) to rate the jokes and monologues.  The algo can then learn what replacements, what structures, and what styles work best.  Though i think using existing monologues is realistic as most writers and comedians borrow from successful previous work to save a long, boring training period.

Exhaust all possibilities of jokes using replacement rules.  Then run this model against actual jokes used on late night television.

Analyze how many of the actual jokes we found.  Push this analysis to back in to give weighting to the generated jokes to predict late night monologues.

Can we ever replace monologue writers?

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