THE FUTURE IS HERE… AND IT IS SLIGHTLY ANNOYING at Boom Chicago in Amsterdam

The popular Boom Chicago comedy club’s recent instalment is titled The Future is Here… and it is slightly annoying. Anticipation was high and we were not disappointed.  

Our show featured all but one of the performers posted online: Simon Lukacs, Lizz Kemery, Simon Feilder and Tyler Groce. Perhaps Tamar Broadbent was swept up in the PRIDE celebrations littering the city streets around the venue? There was no mention of her but plenty of nods made to PRIDE which was, by eight in the evening, in full swing. A few audience members had come straight from the party with their faces painted with flags or a cursory pink penis whistle around their necks and the gleam of beer in their eyes.

Lizz – the only female comic – opened the show. Part introduction, part promotion, part audience participation.  As a sign of things to come, one audience member was chosen to select ten emojis from a display (a command on our phones making us unable to communicate our emotions any more).  These were during an improvised scene where they’d change the emoji for one or both characters leading to a funny turn of events and clever characterization by Lizz and Tyler, two strong performers. This then led into an improvisational song section: suggestions from the audience for ‘never advertised objects’ were thrown around. A paintbrush was chosen leading to a genius one-word-per-performer paint-themed duet by Tyler and Simon.

A key feature of the night was next: the Game of Burger Thrones; a parody of the popular TV series gained the most collective laughs from the crowd. Imagining a TV show from the future, King Burger was double crossed by The House of McDonald in a ploy to help protect her throne from her traitors. Here ensued an elaborate and extensive list of their titles: The House of Subway, The Hut of Pizza, Taco Bell and not forgetting The Colonel of the House of Kentucky.  Unrelenting and ridiculous Mc-puns from McDonald culminated in an evil take-over of the King Burger palace.

After a short intermission, we moved even further into the future. What better way to do this then with a slogan themed skit – performers took yet more ‘unadvertised object’ suggestions from the crowd and made short, funny advertisements. Next up Alexa (Lizz) and Tyler sang a duet where they explored the angsts of a teenage boy growing up… with some embarrassing outcomes.  

Before the next scene, we were informed that the performers had been working with Amsterdam based AI company ‘Nodes’. In the next police-hostage scene they would be joined by an AI robot playing the part of Chief constable, which would use algorithms to invent lines. These were randomly injected into the scene leading to some funny changes of dramatic direction. Exploring this further, Tyler ran a section uncovering the differences AI are not always able to make such as a muffin and a dog. Or raw chicken and Donald Trump. Honestly, I struggled to see the difference too! Thus suggesting to us all, perhaps algorithms are not as reliable as they are sold to be.

Finally, we discovered they have been working with ‘Botnik’ studios in America; jointly testing how well AI can make (or improvise) a song using the algorithms from a key word search – much like they’ve been doing on stage: searching their brains for words patterns and rhyme to build entertaining verses. Of course what better way to end the show than to have a live ‘song battle’ between the Human song and AI song.

Whether or not they really did collaborate with the AI agencies, they did have a robot on stage and they did prompt the audience to consider ‘How well can a robot… do things that the human brain can?’ It was apparent that perhaps we credit technology with too much. 

So, a futuristic cautionary tale? Or a comedy evening of hilarious tech themed song and theatre? You’ll have to go along before the final show next Saturday (and if you’re looking to have a nap at half time I would highly recommend the sofa seats but avoid these if you don’t want to have your life featured in a Netflix Premiere).

Highlights: the live music guy on stage; the expert, fast paced sound and lighting team working away in the background to make it all glue together seamlessly; and the variety of performances which were both scripted and improvisational, including the songs, all of which were enjoyed by the audience – you could tell because of the raucous laughter and roaring round of applause at the end!   Rose Fawbert Mills    5th August 2019

This improv comedy show is entirely in English  and runs Wednesdays – Saturdays

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