2013-09-19

Co.Labs

Why Comedy Hack Day Makes Sense For The People Of Greater Boston

Something funny is happening at MIT Media Lab this Sunday.



We all know technology is changing nearly everything. It has affected food delivery, personal navigation, and the rhetoric of our mayoral candidates.

I’ve been a tech junkie all my life, and a lot of that passion developed in the 12 years I lived in the Boston area (1995-2007). This is also the region that gave birth to my comedy career (I started doing standup at the Comedy Studio in 2002). My particular interest over the past several years has combined these interests and focused my attention on on how technology and humor combine to create something new and special.

Here’s what I mean:

  • A funny tweet is one thing. A comedic exploitation of the culture of Twitter is entirely different.
  • A joke left as a Foursquare tip is one thing. A racism-spotting service based on the location-based nature of Foursquare is another.
  • Talking about how addictive Facebook can be is one thing. Creating a service that delivers a mild electric shock when you access your Facebook account is another.

My primary job at the Onion was to use humor and technology to creatively engage an audience, and over the past year, my cofounders and I have been building this company, Cultivated Wit, to expand on that notion. As a part of my relationship with the MIT Media Lab, this weekend we’re encouraging others to explore this creative and nerdy nexus with us.

It’s called Comedy Hack Day, and it takes the idea of a technology hackathon (at which people build improvised products over a weekend) and injects it with comedy. The goal is to create funny apps and hardware products.

Our previous events have featured the birth of ShoutRoulette, Citation Needed, and Magic Story Maker. What will Greater Boston’s comedians and tech geeks come up with this weekend? Perhaps a tool to help citizens select from among the 328 mayoral candidates or better navigate the still-Escher-esque Massachusetts liquor laws? Join us Sunday evening to find out.

We’ll be putting on a show from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Media Lab. It’s probably the most innovative comedy show you’ll ever see, and the best hackathon demos ever. Also, I’m hosting!

Now, here’s a Boston Terrier on a trampoline.