Hilarity ensues. August 20, 2010 8:06 AM   Subscribe

The inventor of the Comedy Evaluator Pro software has dropped by the thread discussing the Comedy Evaluator Pro to evaluate our evaluations of the Comedy Evaluator Pro.
posted by Shepherd to MetaFilter-Related at 8:06 AM (99 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Holy crap, that was a real product??? I saw that pop up in my RSS feed and chuckled but didn't click through because it wasn't THAT funny a concept (ironically).

This is...sad.
posted by DU at 8:16 AM on August 20, 2010


So in this thread we can evaluate his evaluation of our evaluation of the Comedy evaluator thread. And if Mr Roye cares to come over to the MeTa thread he can evaluate our evaluation of his evaluation of our evaluation of [ERROR: Too many nested evals]
posted by Electric Dragon at 8:19 AM on August 20, 2010 [8 favorites]


Good commentary is invaluable.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 8:35 AM on August 20, 2010


My PAR score for that thread was 5318008.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:36 AM on August 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


I've just got one thing to say.

And then I'll leave.

I can't fucking stand this style of writing where every sentence is a paragraph.

It is ugly as all hell and serves no purpose.

Well actually, that's not true.

It does serve a purpose, albeit not a positive one.

It breaks up the flow of words and disrupts the natural grouping of written language.

And it makes you look like a tool.
posted by Rhomboid at 8:42 AM on August 20, 2010 [12 favorites]


Metafilter: Making new friends on the Internet since 1999.
posted by bondcliff at 8:58 AM on August 20, 2010


RhomboidIthinkyou'recomplainingandnotrealizingthebeautyoflearningdifferentwaysofcommunicating.
posted by nomadicink at 9:00 AM on August 20, 2010


Gotta say that the "Obama money" line changed me from someone who didn't really give a shit either way to someone who wanted to kick Mr. Roye in the nuts as hard as I can.
posted by splice at 9:01 AM on August 20, 2010 [16 favorites]


I can't fucking stand this style of writing where every sentence is a paragraph.

It is ugly as all hell and serves no purpose.


Seriously...

He's not texting us the comment

or sending it over a telegraph wire

so I don't

understand

the breaks.
posted by rollbiz at 9:04 AM on August 20, 2010


You people mock, but steveroye's on to something here.

I just can't believe you're all missing it, since you consider yourselves so "smart."

People talk about comedy like it's high art, or some la-dee-da stuff like that.

steveroye understands that comedy = laffs, funny = money, and that the rest of that ivory tower stuff is gravy.

Fatty gravy, that does not deliver the bucks.

Carlin was stuffed silly with "social commentary," but so was Voltaire, and you don't see re-enactments of "Candide" at the Giggle Warehouse.

You are all so ignorant. You are exactly like the Egyptians, making paper out of reeds. It's not about reeds, it's about paper. Paper money.

But steveroye is not from the Dark Ages. He is a man of science.

His computer science accounts for audience size, and location, and ceiling height and can understand comedy on stage, screen, magnetic tape, or the world wide web.

Note: Your idea of comedy ignores ceiling height. How can you ignore facts like that?

But Comedy Evaluator Pro knows all of these things, and it uses numbers and math. You can't fight math.

The numbers say that J.D. Redwater delivers the funny (hence the money) and this is as obvious as 2+2=4.

This is simple math that even a fifth grader can do. As the brilliant comedian Jeff Foxworthy (PAR score 47.3) once asked, are you smarter than a fifth grader?

Disagreeing with math is exactly like Big Brother. You can say 2+2=5, because the whole is more than the sum of its parts (laffs), but that is because you lack comedy talent. Go back to your socialist breadline.

Comedy Evaluator Pro knows the score (PAR score). And when the comedy industry recognizes its geniusness, you will finally understand that laffs=bucks.

It is a controversial idea, but steveroye doesn't care. He is both the Copernicus and Galileo of comedy, and you are the Popes.

PS: I am now accepting bids for investment in my new nitrous oxide ventilation business. A new world of funny money is at hand.
posted by Rhaomi at 9:04 AM on August 20, 2010 [18 favorites]


As a self-made man of principle

I have as many newlines as I earned and deserve.

If you don't have enough, go get some from Obama.
posted by DU at 9:07 AM on August 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Steve, comedian.
Self made man of principle
that's comedy gold.
posted by norm at 9:16 AM on August 20, 2010


I can't even figure out what "Obama money" is suppose to mean. Anyone?

Honestly, the guy sounds like one of those zero point energy/my car runs on water "science" types.

People are strange.
posted by -t at 9:17 AM on August 20, 2010


This is just to say

I have broken

my sentences

into separate

paragraphs

and which

you were probably

hoping

to read easily

Forgive me

they look more poetic

and elegant

and so meta
posted by mattdidthat at 9:19 AM on August 20, 2010 [11 favorites]


Obama money is, I'm guessing, unemployment checks. Not funny = not getting comedy work and/or not doing comedy work = not getting funnier, ergo unemployed, ergo living off the dole. Which Obama invented, or something. I dunno.

Whole thing is odd.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:19 AM on August 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


I keep expecting these ultra-short paragraphs to contain a secret message.

There'd be a hidden meaning found by reading the capital letters down the side.

Seriously, I checked every one for this sort of coded text.

Unless I can't spell, it isn't there. And yet, I have my doubts.

Comedy seems far too subjective for this to be an actual, serious product.

Kaufman-style prank? Some of us thought so. But, apparently no.

Still, what else could I possibly make of the Comedy Evaluator Pro?
posted by .kobayashi. at 9:19 AM on August 20, 2010 [14 favorites]


The breaks are for laughter and applause.

Duh.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 9:22 AM on August 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


"Obama money"
Could be his material
Evaluate that.
posted by norm at 9:24 AM on August 20, 2010


For over 300 years until the early 1900's, syphilis was treated with Mercury. What you are proposing is really no different and reeks of a real lack of knowledge about the mechanics and dynamics stand-up comedy.

There's nothing more mechanistic and dynamical than ranking a painfully unfunny comedian as The Funniest Evar.
posted by DU at 9:25 AM on August 20, 2010


MetaFilter: like a turd.
posted by GuyZero at 9:26 AM on August 20, 2010


Each line says "poem"
But I would not try to make
into villanelles.
posted by norm at 9:27 AM on August 20, 2010


Obama Money is some funny shit. Who knew that right-wing extremists could be funny?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:29 AM on August 20, 2010


wow.. that was perhaps the least helpful FPP subject responding response I've seen to date. file under "tries too hard".
posted by edgeways at 9:31 AM on August 20, 2010


that dude bombed in that thread.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:31 AM on August 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Obama money is, I'm guessing, unemployment checks. Not funny = not getting comedy work and/or not doing comedy work = not getting funnier, ergo unemployed, ergo living off the dole. Which Obama invented, or something. I dunno.

I was going to post a comment about how Cash for Clunkers should have been a program for crappy comedians to trade in their bad jokes, but Comment Evaluator Pro only gave it a score of 16.
posted by burnmp3s at 9:36 AM on August 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Knock, knock.

Who's there?

Some asshole who spouts off about shit like "Obama money."
posted by defenestration at 9:46 AM on August 20, 2010


In a way, it's not all that surprising that "guy whose reductive about the art of comedy" is also "guy who thinks Obama's a closet communist" - it occurs to me, in retrospect, that most great stand up is about progressive dialogue on race, and how much bad standup is ... well, racist.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 9:46 AM on August 20, 2010


Wait wait...*adjusts ceiling height*....ok, ok...*clears throat*....Obama. Money.

What's the reading now?
posted by DU at 9:48 AM on August 20, 2010


that most great stand up is about progressive dialogue on race, and how much bad standup is ... well, racist.

great standup is like THIS but bad standup is like THIS
posted by DU at 9:49 AM on August 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


I though his first response was pretty measured and calm. To be fair, he didn't barge in and call us all a bunch of Asperger's-y tone-deaf aspiring hermenauts, at least.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:05 AM on August 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


I really dislike any metaphors having to do with excrement.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:06 AM on August 20, 2010


Well, really long, extended metaphors, that is.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:08 AM on August 20, 2010


Wait, why did he not do the Deez Nuuuts post?
posted by Kirk Grim at 10:22 AM on August 20, 2010


I really hate to get involved in this, because I don't care about the art of comedy particularly and Steve Roye is frankly kind of annoying, but since nobody else is saying it and I think it should be said: that thread and this show off MeFi at its worst. Roye is not anyone's idea of a MeFite; he writes poorly, runs a business that doesn't involve computers, and doesn't have much apparent interest in other things (like Apple products, literature and music, or the latest YouTube craze) that lots of MeFites are interested in. So you've got to ask yourself one question: do we want to run everybody Not Like Us out of town so we can enjoy that warm comforting feeling of being with our own kind? If so, congratulations, the plan is succeeding.

My take on it is this: there's a thread about a product, the guy who created the product drops by to respond, and instead of focusing on what he might say that would be of interest, everyone immediately started shitting on him for his writing style (OMG too many paragraphs!), his putative right-wing status, and his strange belief that most comedians care about getting laughs.

Now, I can appreciate the non-laugh-focused types (though not when it's taken as far as Andy Kaufman), but obviously his product is not aimed at them and they are pretty much irrelevant in this context. His product is aimed at comedians who do care about getting laughs and would like to figure out how to get them more consistently. I have no idea whether his product is any good, nor do I care. But I do know that 1) it's absurd to pretend that Your Favorite Non-Laugh-Oriented Comedian is representative of the profession (I'm pretty sure the vast majority of people who choose to make a career in comedy care about getting laughs), and 2) the pack behavior exhibited was repulsive and makes me ashamed of the site.
posted by languagehat at 10:37 AM on August 20, 2010 [32 favorites]


Yeah, upon review, this does appear to be a pile on, which is a bummer. Sorry about being a bit of an ass.

But, Obama money.
posted by defenestration at 10:41 AM on August 20, 2010


I spent all my Obama money on hardcore taters.
posted by scody at 10:48 AM on August 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


that thread and this show off MeFi at its worst

I thought the Mefi thread was very reasonable. I agree that this one is mean-spirited.

Roye is not anyone's idea of a MeFite; he writes poorly, runs a business that doesn't involve computers, and doesn't have much apparent interest in other things (like Apple products, literature and music, or the latest YouTube craze) that lots of MeFites are interested in.

I couldn't agree with this characterization any less. I don't know shit-all about Roye and neither does anyone else here.
posted by muddgirl at 10:52 AM on August 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


So you've got to ask yourself one question: do we want to run everybody Not Like Us out of town so we can enjoy that warm comforting feeling of being with our own kind? If so, congratulations, the plan is succeeding.

I don't know, Steve seems to be handling it pretty well over on the original post. If there's anybody who can take a bunch of people cracking jokes at their expense, it's someone who has been a pro comedian. If he's seriously upset about mefites making fun of his writing style then I have no idea how he was able to perform in front of crowds of drunks for all those years.

It's always going to be tough when the subject of a post shows up when they aren't universally admired by everyone. A lot of people think that a software comedy evaluator is a ridiculous or dumb idea, and there were not a whole lot of people other than Steve who wanted to defend it, so a pile on situation is not really avoidable. But to his credit Steve has mostly just answered people's questions and responded to the criticisms. It gets out of hand when people stop discussing the subject civilly and start going for personal attacks, but for the most part I don't think that happened in this case.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:54 AM on August 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yeah what's the purpose of this thread exactly? I guess there have been others in the past along the lines of "hey this guy who was featured in the FPP made an account!" so I suppose there is precedent, but jeez if I was a non-member and saw that FPP and then this thread my first reaction would probably be "what a bunch of dicks these people are."

I know better, but languagehat is right - this ain't nothing to be proud of.
posted by chaff at 10:56 AM on August 20, 2010


LH: Excellent point on 2) (pack behavior). I also object to all the group hate on J.R. Redwater in the thread. He is clearly pwning that audience in the clip, and he's skilled at his craft.

Not as funny as your favorite comic? Well, guess what -- he's talking about details of life growing up on an Indian reservation, during the PowWow Comedy Tour. If you didn't grow up on the res, who cares if you aren't laughing? You have no idea what he's talking about. And it's pretty shocking ethnocentrism to say he isn't funny.
posted by msalt at 10:57 AM on August 20, 2010


msalt - I think the "problem" with J.R. Redwater, discussed several times in the thread, is NOT that he's not a funny comedian. He's a comedian who clearly knows his audience. The "problem" is that it was declared the funniest stand-up of all time.

It's like Worthington's Law.
posted by muddgirl at 11:03 AM on August 20, 2010


Roye is not anyone's idea of a MeFite; he writes poorly, runs a business that doesn't involve computers, and doesn't have much apparent interest in other things (like Apple products, literature and music, or the latest YouTube craze) that lots of MeFites are interested in

A MeFite is someone who pays the $5 and signs up. There are no other requirements other than no self-links.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:06 AM on August 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


If we didn't have "Obama Money*" many of us would be living in Hoovervilles.

* SERIOUSLY WTF

posted by jtron at 11:08 AM on August 20, 2010


Buy the ticket, take the ride.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:08 AM on August 20, 2010


Roye came into the thread as a combative, argumentative dick. Granted, his tone seemed to soften the more he responded and engaged in discussion. But his first post in that thread really wasn't aiming to make any new friends.

On the flipside, the whole of Metafilter came off as a bunch of combative, argumentative dicks as well.

Also: Obama money.

tee hee hee haw haw haw *ahem* *cough cough*
posted by slogger at 11:09 AM on August 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Actually, I have a slightly different take, assuming the mods didn't delete anything - the inventor came by, l33tpolicywonk said they appreciated him coming by, and asked something about the value of his software - particularly what it was measuring, and Roye gave a response that included a number of insults:
It's called "tightening an act". Ever heard of it?..... You are trying to justify bad stand-up comedy performances and doing a piss poor job at it. You are welcomed to sell that crap to everyone else who will listen.....Oh, and there's still a small group around who believe the world is flat and the moon landing happened in Arizona....Your comments are essentially worthless and little more than hollow rage. But hey...It only takes one lemming to develop a following of many others... :-)
If want people's help or to engage them in discussion, you can't insult them, or things that are important to them. That goes for everyone - regardless of politics, interests, whether they are the 'typical' mefites or not, etc (Whatever that means). Why would anyone offer perspective - which honestly, might help you improve your product - while you accuse them of looking through a 'rose colored rectum'? Obama himself could have walked in here while we were talking about healthcare reform, used that phrase, and it still would have ended the conversation for me.

Yes, I suppose people could have decided to just say that and not mock his prose (which was done at MeTa, not in the thread, but it was done in MeTa, leaving the thread alone), and I don't want to get all 'blame the victim' - but really, it seems like Roye only wants to answer questions he wants to answer, and wants to bash people who don't see things the way he does. He then blew up and left - but then came back when the questions/perspectives were 'worthy' of his attention - implying that he wants to be there, and he's just fine.

That said, I am impressed by the individuals who have remained and engaged him in discussion - which is also something MeFi does well - regardless of your topic or behavior, someone will stay and talk with you about it seriously.

So overall, I think it is going just fine.
posted by anitanita at 11:09 AM on August 20, 2010 [11 favorites]


To be fair, he didn't barge in and call us all a bunch of Asperger's-y tone-deaf aspiring hermenauts, at least.

Whoo-boy. I missed that thread. Thanks for linking to it.
posted by ericb at 11:10 AM on August 20, 2010


If you didn't grow up on the res, who cares if you aren't laughing? You have no idea what he's talking about. And it's pretty shocking ethnocentrism to say he isn't funny.

I'm pretty sure a comic working casino crowds is trying to appeal to a wider audience than you are talking about, otherwise it would be kind of a career-limiting move. Also any time a band/comedian/TV show/Apple product is mentioned on the blue there is a pretty large contingent of people who declare that whatever the subject is sucks, so I don't think there's necessarily any ethnocentrism going on here.
posted by burnmp3s at 11:11 AM on August 20, 2010


My take on it is this: there's a thread about a product, the guy who created the product drops by to respond, and instead of focusing on what he might say that would be of interest, everyone immediately started shitting on him for his ... his strange belief that most comedians care about getting laughs.

I think people found the product weird because it costs money to tell you something it seems you could hear just by listening to a tape. If it were shareware I'd imagine it would've seemed less scammy, but the idea of getting comedians to buy something to figure out a score that is just percentage of laugh track feels a bit like you're feeding off people's self-esteem, need to assess, desire for rank, and all the rest of it. Just, not the coolest starting point, somehow.

And then I don't think people started out saying laughs aren't the point - exaggerated examples were given to illustrate, but initially I think what was being said was just that a) degree of laughter depends on lots of particular factors, and b)broad appeal doesn't equal deep appeal, i.e., I agree that Redwater guy was perfectly likable, but he was also totally forgettable. I have no interest in looking him up again or making sure to catch a special with his name attached, but while the clip was on I was not annoyed and I was mildly amused at times. But that's an important difference in comedy. There's comedy that is painful, makes you roll your eyes and want to leave (or turn the clip off). There's comedy that's fine, watchable, that a room of people following a 2-drink minimum will laugh out loud at. And then there's comedy that's actually funny, that stays with you in some way...
posted by mdn at 11:11 AM on August 20, 2010


On the comedy side, though, Roye's project has an ideological component (not political, but in terms of the art or craft.) And I think most people in the topic have been fairly responding to it.

Roye -- who claims to be a longtime headliner, but is unknown to any of the comics I've worked with over 10 years -- is essentially arguing that laughs are fungible, any laugh is a good laugh, and there is no technique or joke that a comic should avoid for reasons of taste if it gets laughs. He is hiding this behind a veneer of SCIENCE! but his justifications make it pretty clear.

I'm not even saying he's 100% wrong on this score -- I headline Tribble gigs myself, and believe comedy is communication, that you need to reach your audience whatever your artistic goals are -- but there is something kind of dishonest about the way he's making his point.

And it comes off like a road comic who got laughs putting a lot of energy into justifying why he wasn't just a lowest common denominator hack of the worst sort.
posted by msalt at 11:11 AM on August 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


...And I clearly now wish I'd included that 'end indentation' code at the end of my quoting of Roye.

Sorry about the chunky paragraph/funky layout.
posted by anitanita at 11:12 AM on August 20, 2010


Actually, I thought that Steve made some decent points, and I understand his side of things entirely. He didn't get piled on for that. He got piled on for being fighty and the "Obama money" comment. Meh.
posted by norm at 11:14 AM on August 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


I am writing an Evaluator Evaluator so I can evaluate his evaluation.

I have now written the root "evaluat" so much that those words have lost all evaluation.
posted by boo_radley at 11:23 AM on August 20, 2010


burnmp3s: I hear you on the "Your favorite ___ sucks", but that doesn't mean there weren't cultural blinders involved here. Dozens of people said "not funny", not one acknowledged that "maybe I'm not the target audience here."

The Pow Wow Comedy Jam tour is all about the Native American experience, and is largely targeted at the tribal audience (don't snark, tribal is the term I've been told is current). I do a lot of gigs at Indian casinos, and yes there's a broader audience (or I wouldn't be there). But they are also on reservation land generally and have tons of tribal employees. My sense is that this tour is kind of like, "we do all these other comedy shows for our customers, this one's for us."

Also: comedy in casinos is not about making money off comedy. Often the shows are free. They're more about establishing that casinos are all around good clean fun entertainment, not just places to take your gambling dollars.
posted by msalt at 11:28 AM on August 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Bill Cosby lives around the corner from me.

Seriously.

Maybe I'll go knock on his door, hand him a fiver and tell him about this thread.

And the other thread.

This is some fucked up stuff.
posted by fixedgear at 11:32 AM on August 20, 2010


Dozens of people said "not funny", not one acknowledged that "maybe I'm not the target audience here."

Again, I think this is an unfair characterization of the thread. The 4th comment in the thread:
Redwater, for instance, is a Native American performing largely self-denigrating ("I miss my mom's Indian cooking -- powdered eggs, powdered milk, powdered cheese," etc.) comedy in front of what I would assume (Pow Wow Comedy Jam). It seems a bit like evaluating Larry the Cable Guy playing for a NASCAR crowd and then saying he is the funniest man in the history of humanity.
"Target audience" works both ways.
posted by muddgirl at 11:33 AM on August 20, 2010


I do a lot of gigs at Indian casinos, and yes there's a broader audience (or I wouldn't be there). But they are also on reservation land generally and have tons of tribal employees. My sense is that this tour is kind of like, "we do all these other comedy shows for our customers, this one's for us."

I stand corrected, I saw the tour schedule and whatnot and assumed it was targeted at the normal Indian casino demo.
posted by burnmp3s at 11:36 AM on August 20, 2010


Measuring the ratio of laughing to talking and calling it PAR as a metric to be considered in honing your comedy act seems like a reasonable thing to sell. But if you start calling PAR a measure of how funny someone is, or use it to rate comics for something other than a pure laugh/talk ratio, then I think you're getting into territory not too far removed from judging your partner's sexual satisfaction based on cock length times thrusts per minute during the sex act. I mean, what the hell?

Call it what it is and don't claim it is anything more than that, and we're good.
posted by seanmpuckett at 11:45 AM on August 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd feel a lot sorrier for this guy if his software's bogus ratings weren't being used to bar the door to comics unfairly.
posted by DU at 11:51 AM on August 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


territory not too far removed from judging your partner's sexual satisfaction based on cock length times thrusts per minute during the sex act. I mean, what the hell?

To be fair, that's something which Metafilter has no problem with. For your consideration:
"That's 2,250 cock-inches, or 187.5 cock-feet. "
posted by Lemurrhea at 12:03 PM on August 20, 2010


norm: "Actually, I thought that Steve made some decent points, and I understand his side of things entirely. He didn't get piled on for that. He got piled on for being fighty and the "Obama money" comment. Meh."

This. As angry as I was (and still am) about this product, I had no desire to pile onto Steve for his writing style or anything else. I think his product is an atrocious affront to the real artistic value that stand up comedy can have, I think it perpetuates the kind of racist, sexist and homophobic comedy which is way too prevalent in most clubs and I think he's a feckless predator for selling that product to a demographic that's generally insecure and often has difficulty making ends meet. That has nothing to do with his writing style (or, quite frankly, even with Obama money) and everything to do with the product he made and his absolute unwillingness in thread and otherwise to consider non-money-driven stand up worthwhile.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 12:04 PM on August 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Lemurrhea: "For your consideration: "That's 2,250 cock-inches, or 187.5 cock-feet. ""

"that's about 2/3rds of a cock-football field."
posted by boo_radley at 12:11 PM on August 20, 2010


I spent all my Obama money on hardcore taters.

That's a hell of an act! What do you call it?
posted by loquacious at 12:11 PM on August 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


You know who else had lots of Obama money?

That's right, the Aristocrats!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:15 PM on August 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


My head nearly exploded when I got to his Obama money coment.

I did stand up comedy one time. By his PAR Score business model crap I was terrible. Awful. But you know what? I got up there. On a stage. And I told jokes. And it felt fucking great. Steve Roye can kiss my ass if he's going to tell me I suck as a comic and have my hand out for Obama money. Because I don't think either of those things are true.
posted by bilabial at 12:20 PM on August 20, 2010


posted by languagehat Roye is not anyone's idea of a MeFite; he writes poorly, runs a business that doesn't involve computers, and doesn't have much apparent interest in other things (like Apple products, literature and music, or the latest YouTube craze) that lots of MeFites are interested in.

By that standard, most MeFites are not anyone's idea of a MeFite.
posted by mattdidthat at 12:24 PM on August 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Muddgirl: "Target audience" works both ways.

Fair enough. Except that your only example of anyone noting the subjectivity of Redwater's hilarity, is a Canadian guy with a WASPy name saying that Redwater's laughs don't really count because the audience for his material about reservation life was primed to hear about that subject.

The guy gets a solid minute of hard laughs by repeating "We can LEAVE?!?!? (the reservation)". You have to think there's some context with the audience finding that hilarious. Is the bit about how hard it was to cut "commodity cheese" (not powdered cheese BTW) funny? Probably makes a big difference whether you had it growing up.

I don't see Redwater himself claiming to be the funniest person in the world, or even claiming that there is such a thing. That's one of many things wrong with this PAR system - it ignores the relationship between the audience and the performer. Margaret Cho and David Cross also perform to self-selected audiences, and they kill. Points off, in some abstract Platonic comic scale, sure, but if you've got material that fits your audience perfectly, why not?
posted by msalt at 12:46 PM on August 20, 2010


Obama money? I know this has been discussed already, but ... Obama Money?

OBAMAMONEY?

Short of the welfare check angle, I literally have no idea what to do with this combination of nouns. I sincerely hope his prepared material is better than this.

Obama money?
posted by joe lisboa at 1:06 PM on August 20, 2010


Really, Obama Bux has a better ring to it, if you're going to go there.
posted by Devils Rancher at 1:32 PM on August 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


Or Obama moolah, 'cause that sounds vaguely Muslim!
posted by defenestration at 1:36 PM on August 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


If want people's help or to engage them in discussion, you can't insult them, or things that are important to them.

Totally agreed. You'll note that he's changed his tone in today's posts and things have gone a lot better since then.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:43 PM on August 20, 2010


Or Obama moolah, 'cause that sounds vaguely Muslim!
posted by defenestration at 3:36 PM on August 20 [+] [!]
My cat's name is Moolah. I don't know what her stance was during the 2008 election; at the time, she was just a little kitty.
posted by jtron at 1:50 PM on August 20, 2010


Was her stance anything like this?
posted by defenestration at 2:38 PM on August 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


> By that standard, most MeFites are not anyone's idea of a MeFite.

Yeah, but come on, you know what I'm talking about. I'm not saying he couldn't be one (in fact, he is, by definition), I'm saying he doesn't fit in with the cool MeFi crowd. (Like some other MeFites I could name, who are also occasionally targets of unfair pileons.) I explicitly said the guy was annoying, and I'm not saying he should be welcomed with open arms, I'm saying it wouldn't have killed people to listen to what he had to say with a minimum of snark in the response. But everybody was too busy defending the honor of comedians who don't need laughs, man, and freaking out over "Obama money." I'm not saying it's the worst thing in the history of the universe, or even of MeFi; it just made me embarrassed, and I thought I'd say something on the off chance it might cause at least a few people to think twice the next time someone who isn't One of Us drops in to respond to a thread.
posted by languagehat at 2:45 PM on August 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


I was surprised to see that I don't agree with languagehat here, because since the day I've arrived I've kind of thought of him as my compass here on Metafilter.

But, in my read, the thread was going well until steveroye arrived, called l33tpolicywonk's attempts to engage with him "worthless" comments. Things went downhill from there as steveroye began to heavily moderate the thread and add the insulting tone to affairs. The response he received, at least to my eyes seemed restrained. Eventually (and surprisingly to me) things seemed to even out, and the thread seems to be progressing well enough.

'Hat, you've always been very gracious here. I've always really appreciated that, and I continue to do so. But I wonder if you might be being a bit too gracious in this specific circumstance? (There are, of course, much worse things to be.)
posted by .kobayashi. at 3:02 PM on August 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


As much as I try not to be, I am kind of a jerky snob about some things. One of those things concerns how people express themselves in writing. Metafilter has been my favorite place on the Internet for a very long time, because of the quality of the links and also the quality of the discussion.

There are norms in force that are evident to anyone who chooses to read the FAQ and pay a reasonable amount of attention; as in any community, there's a lot of leading by example. Part of that leadership involves the way people write. As I see it, the users that generate the most (productive, non-fighty) discussion and accrue the most (non-lulzy) favorites here are ones who write with clarity and force--who have something to say and say it well. I like that very much. But does it mean that people who don't write especially skillfully are, to some extent, being shamed into silence? I don't know the answer, but it makes me a little uncomfortable to think about.
posted by AkzidenzGrotesk at 3:23 PM on August 20, 2010


I thought the style of his response was a very tired, uninspired Buddy Hackett one-liner-ish thing. Like that might have been his act style ... quick, jabby, spitfire sentences meant to irritate and shock to provide fuel for amusement. Ah welcome to him, maybe he'll get'em next time.

And I guess you could be taken aback by the product. I guess you could feel that the honor of comedy has been tarnished, and that its sweet, kind, little, infant-like innocence needs a champion to restore its honor. If that is your calling, do as you feel.

I guess.

But I think that is like going after people who make golf swing improvement devices for Ben Hogan's sake.
posted by Back to you, Jim. at 3:32 PM on August 20, 2010


But, in my read, the thread was going well until steveroye arrived, called l33tpolicywonk's attempts to engage with him "worthless" comments. Things went downhill from there as steveroye began to heavily moderate the thread and add the insulting tone to affairs. The response he received, at least to my eyes seemed restrained. Eventually (and surprisingly to me) things seemed to even out, and the thread seems to be progressing well enough.

I agree that this is how it seemed to go down down. However, even when someone doesn't present themselves well, it still says a lot about us regarding how we handle it after that point. In my mind, the thread responses were pretty restrained in light of steveroye being pretty defensive. But I'm not sure our response to him here, in MetaTalk, was as appropriate. It's like treating someone pretty well to their face, and then getting together to talk about how lame he was in the back room after he leaves. We can chalk him not coming back because of the main thread because of his issues. If he doesn't come back because he happened to read MetTalk later, I can't say I hold that against him.
posted by SpacemanStix at 3:37 PM on August 20, 2010


My cat's name is Moolah.

*applause*

Seriously. That is an awesome kitty name.
posted by mediareport at 3:44 PM on August 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Youse were outta line a little bit. He has this idea and really believes in it.
posted by fixedgear at 4:20 PM on August 20, 2010


> 'Hat, you've always been very gracious here. I've always really appreciated that, and I continue to do so. But I wonder if you might be being a bit too gracious in this specific circumstance?

Maybe, I dunno. As I said, he was kind of being an ass, and it's not like my heart is bleeding for him. It's just an example of a form of group response that rubs me the wrong way.
posted by languagehat at 4:45 PM on August 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Surely Obama Munny is just William Munny's less dangerous brother.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:33 PM on August 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ugh, I left that thread shaking my head at the pathetic way the guy was coming across. He had a bad case of lastworditis, he persisted in writing in a way which was jarringly out of sync with the general style of Meta (the one sentence paragraphs for no evident reason), and then he threw out a final attempt at an insult by calling Meta "a forum of mostly audience members". Well, consider me properly chastened. cowering down here in the audience.

It's like treating someone pretty well to their face, and then getting together to talk about how lame he was in the back room after he leaves.

This is what has often bothered me about MetaTalk. Sometimes it seems like the clique of cool kids off in their corner of the cafeteria ragging about what that nerd did in History class this morning. Even if someone in the original thread points to other discussion over here, sometimes MetaTalk feels like a really passive aggressive way of calling out a particular poster.
posted by fuse theorem at 7:16 PM on August 20, 2010


Weirdly, I disabled "LeechBlock" just to comment on this.

LanguageHat is right (and so is BacktoyouJim, with his "Ben Hogan" crack):

The product is a quirky sub-niche thingy for the earnest (or intensely cynical) folks in a particular sub-niche. That it looks absurd from the outside just testifies to how tight a niche the guy is targeting.

The How Dare You Treat Comedy as Commerce pile-on is repellent (although, it must be said, so was the "Obama Money" bit... so maybe he should get some Non-Laugh Generating Andy Kaufman High Comedic Art Confrontation Points, if you're into that sort of thing).
posted by darth_tedious at 8:32 PM on August 20, 2010


I did stand up comedy one time. By his PAR Score business model crap I was terrible. Awful. But you know what? I got up there. On a stage. And I told jokes. And it felt fucking great. Steve Roye can kiss my ass if he's going to tell me I suck as a comic and have my hand out for Obama money. Because I don't think either of those things are true.
Right. People weren't laughing because you were such a great comic.
posted by planet at 8:54 PM on August 20, 2010


That's a bit harsh. I don't think bilabial was claiming to be God's gift , just objecting to the thought that some computer rating made his one open mic set bad.

No one gets good without their first open mic set. And anyone who has taken that risk gets my respect. Besides, there's often a beginner's luck, or charm, that makes first sets entertaining.
posted by msalt at 10:52 PM on August 20, 2010


>Maybe, I dunno. As I said, he was kind of being an ass, and it's not like my heart is bleeding for him. It's just an example of a form of group response that rubs me the wrong way.

Fair enough. While I still suspect that this guy may actually have gotten far less than he might have, given his early behavior here, I'll definitely keep this in mind.
posted by .kobayashi. at 5:38 AM on August 21, 2010


That is an awesome kitty name.

Better name for a cow though.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:54 AM on August 21, 2010


Actually, you know what? I was about to give this guy the benefit of the doubt and walk away. But, with his most recent morning posts, I've changed my mind again. I really don't care for his contributions here, and -- although I've been convinced that its worth thinking more carefully about the welcome that others get when they first come to MetaFilter -- I am not particularly concerned by the less-than-fully-polite welcome that steveroye has received.

In fact, given how heavily he's moderating the thread at this point, I have to say that there's a part of me that wants the frontier internet justice of a good ol' fashioned pile-on. Since he has shown that he seems to understand so little about community norms here, perhaps booing him off the stage would be a community norm he'd better understand.

Let me elaborate. The way I see it, if we're going to accept that performer-audience expression time means anything, then we might as well point out that steveroye's "performance" in that thread has now become at least 18% of the total thread. This strikes me as a suffocating amount, and not fitting with most articulations of what constitutes appropriate behavior here.

Others in the thread have wished to develop a critical conversation about what comedy can mean within a culture, and whether pursuit of the big laugh is a worthwhile end in itself. Yet, time and again, though, through heavy moderation, he's steered the conversation back to one theme, which might be summarized as "My Product Gets Results," through a combination of self-promotion, selective engagement, broader dismissals, and insults.

Any other conversation, including those about what it might mean to measure comedy this way, and/or what values those measurements might reflect, have been bulldozed by the inventor here. Even conversations about possible measurement error, or whether laughter is a sufficient proxy variable for what many would want to know about comedy, have either been largely squashed or (strangely enough) offered to be taken up off-site, in a conference call. Given all this, it's no wonder that some folks got twitchy and inhospitable. In fact, if anything's surprising, it's that more people haven't.

Yes, this post is largely about his system, but it's framed in a way that invites a broader conversation about comedy. But, because of steveroye this conversation hasn't been able to get off the ground. The thread now reads as a sort of advert for the Comedy Evaluator Pro, and I'm increasingly uncomfortable with that.

If you ask me, it's high time that the mods sprung into action (if they haven't already) and let steveroye know that this thread isn't *his,* even if he is the inventor of the product. In my opinion, they should tell him to back off a bit, and play by the same community standards everyone else does. If we're going to treat this guy like a community member, he might meet us part of the way there.
posted by .kobayashi. at 7:09 AM on August 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


The thread now reads as a sort of advert for the Comedy Evaluator Pro, and I'm increasingly uncomfortable with that.

I really hate the kind of mob "justice" that a handful of Metafilter regulars seem to get away with leading every now and again, so I disagree with a great deal of your comment, but I do agree wholeheartedly with the above statement.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:33 AM on August 21, 2010


The most important thing I learned from this thread is that Fred Armisen's Native American comedian character on SNL is based on a real person. Did not know that before.
posted by elpea at 1:19 PM on August 21, 2010


That's a bit harsh. I don't think bilabial was claiming to be God's gift , just objecting to the thought that some computer rating made his one open mic set bad. No one gets good without their first open mic set.
As you point out, it wasn't the computer rating that made it bad -- it was his inexperience. It was also perhaps his lack of talent. I'm not sure why everyone is so offended by the idea of being evaluated, particularly, in the case of a comic, being evaluated by how much the performance makes people laugh.
posted by planet at 2:12 PM on August 21, 2010


Evaluation is done by the audience, not by a computer, and frankly, not by you. Were you at the open mic bilabial was at? If not, who are you to say it was bad? I'm pretty sure you have no idea how much people laughed.

It's pretty typical for a beginner to spend too much time on exposition, setup, introducing their character, etc. It takes a lot of experimentation to figure out which parts can be left out. And that would lower your PAR score. But a lot of very funny comics did some of their best bits at their first open mic, or soon after.

Or maybe s/he did have a bad set. I still object to you putting bi. down, because no comic can improve without doing their first set. And the main thing bilabial seems to be saying is that s/he is very glad to have tried, that it was good for the soul to take the plunge. Couldn't agree more.
posted by msalt at 4:16 PM on August 21, 2010


Well, the inventor's tone seems weirdly incendiary but this isn't apparently the first time an internet community has criticized him. So yeah he came on in like he was posting on Something Awful, "your comments are worthless" etc., and got mostly polite snark. Makes him look bad, but he just didn't calibrate for MeFi I suppose.
posted by maus at 9:09 AM on August 22, 2010


Oh man, I just got back on the computer after a about four days pretty much off-line. Early in the weekend, Jessamyn informed me that someone had MeTa'd my FPP, the OP had showed up, and his style of writing was annoying people. So I was looking very much forward to seeing what transpired, because this is the kind of conversation that MeFi does pretty well (sometimes): art v science. Other than that, I hadn't kept up with the blue thread (apart from the first twenty comments), or seen this post/thread.

So, I'm reading it now. I'm about halfway through it, (I'm a slow reader), and I'd forgotten that Jess also told me about the "Obama money" comment. When I got to that, I was like, "Oh shiiiii" <making "oh shiiiii face">

<canned laughter>

and then I was like, <makes wincing face>

<canned laughter>

and then I was all "scroll scroll scroll"... <makes scrolling face>

<applause>


...anyway, MeFi, thanks for what looks to be a fun read for next half-hour-or-so. To have a thread go kablooey like this, and to know it's my FPP... *snif* I'm so proud.
posted by not_on_display at 7:38 PM on August 23, 2010


Well hey, that wasn't so bad. Matt got $5!
posted by not_on_display at 10:15 PM on August 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


I wonder how many copies of the software he sold for his $5 investment?
posted by msalt at 2:36 PM on August 24, 2010


Yeah, I was thinking that, too. But when making the post, I didn't want to editorialize too much, hoping that an "art v science" or "nature of the audience" conversation would evolve, and/or that MeFites would pick up on the timecubiness, and/or notice the huge price-tag for his full set of comedy-teaching tools--but just generally hoping for interesting perspectives. All in all, tucked away within that 9/10ths or so of the thread that wasn't steveroye's comments, I found some good nuggets and insights. (Thanks, MeFi!)

But that other 1/10 was steveroye advertising his product, mostly. (Hell, I didn't expect him to show up in the thread!) But who can blame him. You are right: he probably saw the $5 as an investment: he could work the hivemind crowd a couple of minutes here and there for a couple of days--if he picks up one sale, that's a huge return on his $5.

(But still: Matt got $5! That's the price of a beer at a meetup, SAIT.)

But once he showed up, that's when some good questions were raised: statistical soundness, is it art?, etc.I was disappointed that that kept a better conversation from happening: some of the questions and points that y'all threw at him were very good; he just answered them selectively; some insights were made by him, but not many. However, before he showed up, the thread wasn't any of that; it was mostly, "JR Redwater sux!!! right?" and "this can't be real," and "yeah obviously anyone with a calculator could do this."

So I'm a little mixed about it, wishing more conversation and less advertising had taken place. Still, but I kinda liked it--rather than knowing before posting how a thread is gonna turn out, watching it running a red light and then hitting the curb and a mailbox before finally coming to rest on a fire hydrant, and then seeing all the hydrant-water spouting out of the moonroof, with the driver miraculously being floated on top of the newly-formed fountain (still holding his steering wheel! pipe in mouth, fedora on head, in seated position, still!), and a bunch of clown passengers climbing out the sides, some of them wearing masks and snorkels... now, that's a fun thread.
posted by not_on_display at 6:27 PM on August 24, 2010


A is for Activity, Remove from Recent
posted by not_on_display at 11:00 PM on August 25, 2010


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