As a comic, I have a recurring dream of getting on stage, performing new material, getting no response, and then realizing I just performed all my jokes in my underwear. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be happy to know that your dreams can now come true, for about a dollar! Introducing Lighthouse Games Studio’s Comedy Night for Xbox 360.
The app/game is an interesting experiment in the longtime gaming system’s indie game line-up. Basically, you (in the form of your created avatar) can go on stage and perform until you get bored, get sad, or get voted off. If you’re not feeling quite that brave, you can join the audience in one of three types of rooms: Amateur: Clean, Amateur: Mature or Professional. It’s an idealistic idea to have these rooms separated, but really, you can have a 12-year-old kid heckle you in racist or homophobic terms in any of the rooms, so that’s nice. I chose Amateur: Mature for my first experience.
I wandered in to the virtual club. It’s set up like you would expect: Square tables, four seats per and two microphones on the stage. I took a seat next to Voltron and Sonic The Hedgehog, and watched a man with an impossibly large head just kind of talking to his friends in the room. Not really performing comedy, per se, but I did appreciate the authenticity of that open mic experience. There’s no list or order in which comics to go up, so it’s a bit of a free-for-all to get on stage. The two mic setup was as annoying as, you might expect, with both comics sort of talking over each other. I quickly learned that this would not be a huge issue, since everyone can talk at the same time, whether they’re on stage or not. Now, to be fair, there is a welcome option to turn off audience chat, but then you’re also losing whatever feedback you might expect to get, whether it be laughter or heckles. There are pre-loaded sound “reactions” that the audience members can use at any time, like roaring laughter, boos, or, the most useful, crickets.
So, finally, I worked up enough courage to take the stage next to Voltron. I told a couple jokes and I guess they went over pretty well, but not well enough, because I was quickly voted off. Yes, you really can be voted off. If three people don’t think you’re funny enough to demand any more of their time, they can Showtime-at-the-Apollo-style rip you off the stage. Now, the Professional room disables voting, and it also solves the two microphone problem by…well, only having one mic on stage. In my third or fourth set, I heard an audience member say, “Oh God, this guy again?” Touche, Comedy Night. Touché.
You can snag yourself a copy of Comedy Night here.