Exciting things are hopefully happening, or about to happen, but I don’t want to pre-empt them by writing about them here yet. Work was dull and a bit difficult, but I don’t really want to go over that again. So, more ChatGPT malarkey.
This evening I’ve been playing around with ChatGPT again, asking it to write jokes in the style of favourite comedians or comedy programmes. ChatGPT is very good at rehashing information that is online, but less good at originality. Humour depends on originality. Just rehashing someone else’s joke isn’t funny. So I was curious as to how this would go. (I also have another reason based on my novel, but I don’t want to go into that now.)
I’ve pasted the exchanges below, but the short answer is that ChatGPT is not very good at it. The jokes read like someone tried to be funny despite never having understood a joke, by trying to analyse a joke book. (It also took a weirdly long time to write the Monty Python pastiche.) To be fair, there are one or two OKish jokes, or at least ones that might work depending on the delivery. The ‘corduroy trousers’ joke in the Are You Being Served? pastiche is actually something I could see the series doing, but it would need some work. And I can sort of see the Monty Python sketch in the not-very-good fourth and final series, which often felt tired and unfunny. I’m not sure that’s really praise.
It’s interesting that a number of these programmes used a lot of catchphrases and running jokes and ChatGPT hasn’t picked up on any of them. I’m not sure why it kept writing me sketches when I asked for jokes, but maybe that’s because I mostly asked it to imitate TV programmes rather than stand-up comedy. I don’t know why it gave so many of the sketches that weird summary conclusion, which isn’t something any of the programmes have in real life.
My choice of pastiches is very Anglo-centric (as are my comedy tastes). To explain a bit to non-English readers, Ronnie Barker was a comedy writer/performer best known for The Two Ronnies sketch show with Ronnie Corbett. His humour was based largely around clever wordplay, sexual double entendre and parodies of popular films and TV. This was considered family viewing in the 70s and 80s. The Goon Show was a surreal radio programme in the 50s, a progenitor of the nowadays more famous Monty Python’s Flying Circus on TV in the 70s. Are You Being Served? was a 70s sitcom based in the clothing department of a department store. The humour was mostly very dirty double entendre and it was also considered family viewing. Round the Horne was a 60s radio programme, again mostly based on parody, wordplay and double entendre and again considered suitable for the whole family. (The outrageously camp characters Julian and Sandy, played by Kenneth Williams and Hugh Paddick, both gay in real life, probably played a role in normalising homosexuality at a time when it was illegal, so I guess it’s appropriate for Pride Month.) Yes Prime Minister was a satirical sitcom in the 80s based around the conflict between government (the Prime Minister, James Hacker) and the civil service (the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Humphrey Appleby). It was very cleverly written, with different dialogue styles for the different main characters, biting satire and also some wordplay (you may notice a theme). It was so much better than ChatGTP’s effort that it’s laughable. Hancock’s Half-Hour was a character-focused radio sitcom from the 50s that transferred to TV as Hancock. I don’t know why ChatGPT thinks it was about inventions. It was about the slightly pompous and conceited Tony Hancock (the actor playing a character of the same name who wasn’t entirely dissimilar to himself), wide-boy Sid James and slightly stupid Bill Kerr. The humour came from the characters as much as anything, so it’s not surprising ChatGPT was more stumped by it the other requests. The IT Crowd was a noughties sitcom set in the IT department of a moderately large company. The humour was geeky and somewhat surreal.
(Yes, I like clever humour, wordplay and whimsical, surreal humour. I don’t like cruel or mocking humour. I’m not so keen on double entendre, but it tends to come in with the other wordplay.)
The ChatGPT conversation. I’m not editing as I don’t have time.
tell me a joke
Sure, here’s a classic one for you:
Why don’t scientists trust atoms?
Because they make up everything!
tell me a ronnie barker joke
Certainly! Here’s a joke from the late great British comedian Ronnie Barker:
“A cement mixer collided with a prison van on the Kingston Bypass. Motorists are asked to be on the lookout for 16 hardened criminals.”
tell me a new joke in the style of ronnie barker
Certainly! Here’s a new joke in the style of Ronnie Barker:
“I went to the bakery and asked the baker if he had any muffins. He said, ‘Sorry, we’re all out of muffins, but we have some fantastic bagels!’ I replied, ‘Well, that’s a real twist on things. I guess you could say you’ve bagel-ed my expectations!’ The baker just gave me a blank stare and said, ‘Sir, that’s a real crumby joke.’ I guess he couldn’t rise to the occasion!”
tell me a new joke in the style of the goon show
Certainly! Here’s a joke in the style of “The Goon Show”:
[Narrator] Once upon a time, in the land of absolute absurdity, a peculiar event was about to unfold. The legendary Eccles, Bluebottle, and Grytpype-Thynne found themselves in a pickle, quite literally!
[Eccles] Oh, me, oh, my! We’ve landed in a giant jar of pickles, haven’t we, lads?
[Bluebottle] ‘Elp! ‘Elp! We’re in a bit of a tight spot here, aren’t we, Eccles?
[Grytpype-Thynne] Silence, you silly sausages! Now, listen carefully. I have a cunning plan to escape this tangy trap.
[Eccles] What’s the plan, then? Spit it out, before we turn into cucumbers!
[Grytpype-Thynne] Fear not! We shall tickle the pickles until they release us. Eccles, start tickling the pickles on the left, and Bluebottle, tickle the ones on the right.
[Eccles and Bluebottle start tickling the pickles, accompanied by giggles and pickle wiggles.]
[Narrator] And so, with a ridiculous mix of tickling and laughter, the trio managed to escape the pickle predicament. They walked away, leaving behind a jar of slightly confused and thoroughly amused pickles.
Remember, folks, in the realm of the Goons, the absurdity is a way of life and laughter is the ultimate escape!
tell me a new joke in the style of monty python
Certainly! Here’s a joke in the style of Monty Python:
[Scene: A dusty desert. Two explorers, Brian and Nigel, are searching for the fabled Holy Grail.]
Brian: Nigel, do you think we’ll ever find the Holy Grail?
Nigel: Well, Brian, it’s rather like trying to find a needle in a stack of shrubberies, isn’t it?
Brian: Indeed, Nigel. But fear not, for I have devised a brilliant plan to locate the Grail!
Nigel: Pray, do tell, Brian. What is your ingenious plan?
Brian: We shall disguise ourselves as knights and gallop through the land, asking every person we meet if they have seen the Holy Grail!
Nigel: Ah, yes! And when they say, “No, we haven’t seen it,” we shall shout, “Oh, come on! It’s a cup, for goodness’ sake! How hard can it be to find a cup?”
[Both burst into laughter.]
[Scene: A few hours later, covered in dust and exhaustion.]
Brian: Nigel, perhaps our plan was a tad too simplistic.
Nigel: Indeed, Brian. We’ve been mistaken for traveling salesmen, circus performers, and even door-to-door shrubbery inspectors!
Brian: Well, at least we’re expanding our knowledge of shrubberies in the process.
Nigel: True, Brian. But I fear our quest for the Holy Grail might require a bit more than just asking random strangers.
Brian: You may be right, Nigel. Perhaps we should try asking goats next. They seem to know a lot about everything.
Nigel: Splendid idea, Brian! Let us embark on a new quest: “In Search of the Wise Goats.”
Remember, folks, in the realm of Monty Python, the quest for absurdity and hilarity is never-ending!
tell me a joke in the style of are you being served?
Certainly! Here’s a joke in the style of “Are You Being Served?”:
[Scene: The staff of Grace Brothers department store are gathered in the menswear section.]
Mr. Humphries: (with a mischievous smile) Captain Peacock, have you heard the latest fashion trend?
Captain Peacock: (adjusting his tie) No, Mr. Humphries, do tell.
Mr. Humphries: Well, they say that corduroy trousers are making a comeback!
Captain Peacock: (raising an eyebrow) Corduroy? Are you serious?
Mr. Humphries: Quite serious, Captain. In fact, the fashion experts claim that wearing corduroy trousers makes a person feel more “ribbed” for their pleasure!
[The staff chuckle and exchange knowing glances.]
Mrs. Slocombe: (joining in) Oh, Mr. Humphries, you always have a way with words. But I must say, I’ve always found corduroy to be quite “groovy”!
Captain Peacock: (trying to maintain composure) Well, if corduroy is making a comeback, I suppose I’ll have to dust off my old bell-bottoms too!
[Laughter erupts as they continue discussing fashion trends, leaving Captain Peacock bewildered by the ever-changing world of style.]
Remember, in the world of “Are You Being Served?”, even the most ordinary conversations can turn into comedic fashion fiascos!
tell me a joke in the style of round the horne
Certainly! Here’s a joke in the style of “Round the Horne”:
[Scene: Kenneth Horne and his witty companion, Rambling Syd Rumpo, are engaged in a lively conversation.]
Kenneth Horne: Syd, did you hear about the new nightclub that just opened?
Syd Rumpo: Ooh, I’m all ears, Kenneth. Pray, enlighten me.
Kenneth Horne: It’s called “The Tangled Flamingo,” and they claim to have the most incredible dance floor in town!
Syd Rumpo: Dance floor, you say? Well, that sounds right up my alley, Kenneth.
Kenneth Horne: But here’s the catch, Syd. The dance floor is covered in super-sticky glue!
Syd Rumpo: Sticky glue? Crikey, Kenneth! That sounds like a recipe for disaster!
Kenneth Horne: Indeed, Syd. They call it the “Stickiest Samba.” Once you step foot on that dance floor, you’re stuck!
Syd Rumpo: Blimey! I can see it now, Kenneth. Dancers glued together, spinning and twirling like a tangled tango tornado!
Kenneth Horne: Quite the visual, Syd. The club owner insists it’s the latest craze, a surefire way to keep people glued to the dance floor all night long!
Syd Rumpo: Well, Kenneth, I’ll have to give it a whirl. But I’ll bring a bottle of oil, just in case things get a bit too sticky for my liking!
[Laughter ensues as they envision the hilarious mishaps and sticky situations that could occur on “The Tangled Flamingo” dance floor.]
Remember, in the whimsical world of “Round the Horne,” even the stickiest of situations can be a source of laughter and amusement!
write me a new joke in the style of Yes prime minister
Certainly! Here’s a joke in the style of “Yes, Prime Minister”:
[Scene: The Prime Minister, Jim Hacker, is having a discussion with his advisor, Sir Humphrey Appleby.]
Jim Hacker: Humphrey, have you heard about this new study on political speeches?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Indeed, Prime Minister. It appears they’ve conducted extensive research on the effectiveness of politicians’ words.
Jim Hacker: Fascinating! So, what did they discover?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Well, Prime Minister, it turns out that the more words a politician uses in a speech, the greater the chance that the audience will be completely confused.
Jim Hacker: Ah, I see. So, brevity is not necessarily the soul of wit when it comes to politics.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Precisely, Prime Minister. In fact, the study suggests that politicians should aim for the perfect balance of length, complexity, and ambiguity to maintain the illusion of competence.
Jim Hacker: Ah, the delicate art of political rhetoric! It’s like trying to juggle jelly, Humphrey.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Indeed, Prime Minister. And it seems that some politicians have mastered the art of juggling jelly with such finesse that even they don’t know what they’re saying!
[They share a knowing chuckle, fully aware of the complexities and challenges of political communication.]
Remember, in the world of “Yes, Prime Minister,” the interplay of wit, wordplay, and political maneuvering is always a source of comedic enlightenment.
write me a joke in the style of hancock’s half hour
Certainly! Here’s a joke in the style of “Hancock’s Half Hour”:
[Scene: Tony Hancock and his trusty companion, Sid James, are engaged in a banter-filled conversation.]
Tony Hancock: Sid, I’ve come up with a brilliant invention!
Sid James: Ooh, go on, Tony. Pray, enlighten me.
Tony Hancock: It’s a device that automatically tells you when you’re talking to someone who just loves the sound of their own voice!
Sid James: A device? That sounds marvellous! How does it work, Tony?
Tony Hancock: Well, you attach it to your pocket, and it’s equipped with a small microphone. Whenever the person you’re talking to starts rambling on and on, the device emits a subtle but distinct snoring sound!
Sid James: (chuckles) Brilliant, Tony! So, it’s a snore-ometer, then?
Tony Hancock: Exactly! I call it the “Conversational Dozer.” It’s like having a personal alarm for tedious talkers!
Sid James: (grinning) Oh, I can think of a few folks who would benefit from that invention, Tony.
Tony Hancock: Absolutely, Sid. We’ll revolutionize the art of conversation, one snore at a time!
[Laughter ensues as they imagine the hilarious scenarios and awkward encounters that the “Conversational Dozer” could alleviate.]
Remember, in the witty world of “Hancock’s Half Hour,” even the quirkiest inventions can bring joy and laughter to everyday situations!
write a joke in the style of the IT crowd
Certainly! Here’s a joke in the style of “The IT Crowd”:
[Scene: Roy and Moss are in the IT department, engrossed in their usual geeky banter.]
Roy: Hey, Moss, did you hear about the computer that went to the ballet?
Moss: No, Roy, I haven’t. Pray, enlighten me.
Roy: Well, it had some major software issues. Every time the dancers pirouetted, it would shout, “Buffering… buffering… buffering!”
Moss: (chuckles) Classic computer troubles, Roy. But did it at least enjoy the performance?
Roy: Oh, it had a great time! It gave a standing ovation, except instead of clapping, it just kept hitting the “Enter” key repeatedly!
Moss: (laughs) Ah, the awkward charm of a computer attempting to appreciate art. I can just imagine the confused looks from the other audience members.
Roy: Indeed, Moss. The ballet dancers thought it was part of the avant-garde choreography, a unique blend of technology and grace!
[Laughter ensues as they imagine the comical scene of a computer trying to blend into the world of ballet with its quirky computer-like behavior.]
Remember, in the quirky realm of “The IT Crowd,” even the most technical mishaps can lead to hilarious moments of technology meets humanity!