Comedy vs Design
“Hello, everybody! How are you all doin’ tonight?
I’ve been wondering for some time now…
Do you know which is the favourite vegetable of a taxi driver? The CABbage!” (ptum, tsss)
Well, not every joke is as good as this one… okay, it might not be consensual the level of funny of this beat, but comedy is like this. The stand-up comedian has such an enormous work gathering, thinking, planning and reshaping jokes according to what he thinks people are going to like.
These are called ASSUMPTIONS! (read in a dramatic way)
It’s sad but it’s true, we never know if our joke will be well received by the ones that are listening to us, unless we are in our friends group telling “dad jokes”. No laugh for you, sir!
It often happens that a comedian on tour changes the alignment, adds or removes some of the jokes that he started with in the first show of the season. If there was some moment that the public didn’t respond that well, maybe that wasn’t a good beat. So, a kind of a democratic, public-inspired, human-driven critic is putted into practice.
For the most stubborn comedians this situation creates the possibility to iterate on jokes, if it didn’t work in a certain way they change it until it’s perfect! This method is used by some of the great names of comedy like Ricky Gervais, Louis CK and Jerry Seinfeld.
There’s the interesting part, we can find some similarities between this and the design process. Whether you’re designing a comedy set, a chair or the next self-driven car, you have to consider one of the things that have been around for some time now… humans!
How they behave, how they think, their emotions, their fears, what makes them happy, comfortable and efficient… all of that is crucial for a great design. Of course, in comedy some choose to be more distant to the human reactions to do their beats, otherwise there were too little subjects that could be joked about. But the ultimate metric is the laugh-o-meter, no laugh, no joke!
The same happens when building something new, something innovative. The thinking process should be continuously influenced by the feedback of the user, persona, customer or human in general. That helps us demystify our assumptions that are often wrong. Also, it is required the same agility as in comedy, to respond to certain unexpected events that occur along the way.
God was the only one that could care less about the human feedback.
When he was creating the world, it was a big deal, a master piece! Suddenly he just comes up with this long nose animal with giant ears… He shows it to his colleagues — “look guys, it’s not finished yet, but what if we…”
“God, come on, we don’t have any light or water in the world yet, that’s Irrelephant!”