TV | November 14, 2021 6:16 am

Can an AI Make You Laugh? “SNL” Found Out.

Witness the arrival of Laughingtosh 3000

Laughingtosh 3000
Laughingtosh 3000 made an appearance on Weekend Update.

The list of things that artificial intelligences can do is growing at a substantial rate. This year, news came of AIs being used for everything from completing symphonies to helping people grieve. For anyone concerned about certain jobs ceasing to exist, it’s more than a little worrying. But AIs seem unlikely to take over certain lines of work — stand-up comedy, for one, seems relatively secure.

Or so you might think. But on the latest episode of Saturday Night Live, Weekend Update saw the debut of Laughingtosh 3000, a comedian who also happens to be a robot. Turns out an AI comedian can do a pretty great impression of Instagram — and has some strong feelings about one of the city’s boroughs.

It’s worth mentioning here that that is not, in fact, a robot comedian, but merely Aristotle Athari playing one. And Athari is quite good at it — even factoring in a few moments of almost breaking character, he managed to sell the character via a memorable voice and a commitment to a very particular strain of comedy.

Athari has done impressive work this season in terms of creating compellingly surreal characters — see also, the musician Angelo, who appeared in a sketch last month. Weird SNL is frequently the best SNL, and Athari’s penchant for the compellingly bizarre suggests good things in this department.