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14

Have You Played… Comedy Night?

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Comedy Night was always going to be a cesspit. Take the anonymity of the internet and combine it with the open stage of a virtual comedy club and you end up with a form of digital sewage that is very vile and only a little fascinating. On paper, it’s a game about doing a stand-up routine as a big-headed avatar and seeing how the other players in the audience react. In reality, it is like listening to a poor phone recording of schoolboys playing Cards Against Humanity.

In these audio chatrooms, racial slurs fly around with unsurprising frequency, used often as both the setup and punchline of non-jokes. Anyone and everyone is heckled and abused as they speak. The voting system (which boots people off-stage) theoretically results in the best “comedians” getting more stage time but more often means a speedy rotation of crackling microphones vomiting anti-jokes.

It’s the kind of open and anarchic place that some will flock to for its perceived freedom. But that freedom is really just freedom from responsibility, freedom from getting a judgmental frown from your neighbour because you keep making tasteless remarks about Mexicans. If I were a more optimistic about humanity’s behaviour when given freedom and anonymity, I’d say that Comedy Night, in some other reality, could have been a place for comics to learn and practice and fail in relative safety, as it seems designed to do. But anyone who has grown up with the internet will realise that’s a fantasy. It was always going to be this bad.

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Who am I?

Brendan Caldwell

List Goblin

Brendan likes all types of games. To him there is wisdom in Crusader Kings 2, valour in Dark Souls, and tragicomedy in Nidhogg.

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