I'm a sucker for improvisational comedy. Back in college, my roommates and I got hooked on the original Whose Line Is It Anyway, and when Drew Carey created an American version several years later (including several cast members from the British version), we were there from episode one. There's something exhilarating about being present the moment a hilarious bit of comedy is first conceived, and most improv troops allow the audience to participate in the show through scene or character suggestions. Scripted comedy simply can't recreate the experience.
And now YouTube has partnered with HP to create an incredibly unique live-streaming event around the concept of improvisational comedy. The event is called HP ePrint Live. For this one-of-a-kind show, HP will also be making use of a cool piece of technology hardware–a web-connected printer. The printer will sit on a stage, with several comedians, and viewers will be able to send skit suggestions of any variety to the printer by sending a simple email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The printer is already accepting suggestions, but the real fun will be had when audience members send in ideas while the show is actually going on.
In a way, this is like one of those experiments where a website allows Internet users to control a webcam… or a paintball gun… or a man in a chicken suit. Only in this case… we'll be able to control the comedy!
Rob Riggle will host–he's on the Daily Show and also played the taser-happy cop in The Hangover–and the Upright Citizens Brigade, a renowned improv and comedy troop, will serve as the cast. Here's a trailer for the event:
The live performance will take place Friday, January 21, 2011 (that's tomorrow) at 3pm Eastern. What a strange and random time to air something like this; I guess they're banking on the business professionals of the U.S. taking it easy on a Friday afternoon.
However the show turns out, major kudos go to HP for dreaming up something this wacky and experimental and awesome. Online video only grows and evolves when there are brands bold enough to do something unproven and unique. 2011 could be the year that interactivity with online video really comes into its own–and this is a heck of a way to start it off.
Because I'm always curious to see check out new video-related experiments, and because I'm a huge improv comedy fan, I'll be tuning in for sure. Will you?