You may have your own internal, running dialogue that relies on tech and techies for comedic fodder, but an event this week in Seattle brings the jokes out into the open, to roast what has become a big part of our everyday culture.
“Socially Inept: Tech Comedy Roast” returns Thursday night for another run at the people and the technology who have so dramatically shaped the way we live. The show will feature comedians doing stand-up comedy at the tech scene’s expense, while roasting volunteer techies from the audience.
Producers Jesse Warren and Austin Nasso have brought a string of successful shows to Seattle and San Francisco since launching the concept last summer, and they have more lined up in Los Angeles, with plans to expand to every major tech hub in the United States. Both have worked in tech and both are regular stand-up comedians.
Warren, who studied computer science at the University of Washington, previously worked at Microsoft, SpaceX and a small AI startup called MindMeld. He quit his job two years ago to focus full-time on comedy, and now performs every night of the week.
Nasso studied computer science at UCLA and he still works for Microsoft as a software engineer. He’s been doing stand-up for about six years after starting a comedy club in college.
“The show started last year when we were planning a goodbye roast show for Austin before he moved to L.A.,” Warren said. “We decided to expand the concept of ‘Roast of Austin’ to ‘Roast of the Seattle tech scene’ and the show was a huge hit. We’ve sold out almost every show so far.”
Nasso said techies are especially roastable because they’ve become so pervasive in most major cities. He also called them a “fundamental paradox.”
“On the one hand they are wealthy and intelligent which puts them in a sort of ‘elevated status.’ It’s hard to really punch down on a recent college grad who makes $130,000 per year,” he said. “However, despite their high status they typically have many funny characteristics and interests such as their social awkwardness, obsession with self help, inability to properly dress themselves, and fascination with the television series ‘My Little Pony.'”
Material about those who play the board game “Settlers of Catan” is also to be expected. Roastees are comprised of friends of friends, and those who have seen the show and want to be a part of it, Warren said. All work in tech.
“It takes longer than people know to write a new joke that works consistently, but we’re always trying to write new tech material and incorporate it into our shows because we want to celebrate this subculture that our audience are all a part of,” Warren said.
The producers are in the process of creating a segment where comedians will write jokes about recent tech news specific to the city that they are in, but that won’t be part of this week’s show. Warren will be joined by comedians including Taylor Clark, Erin Ingle and Adi Naidu — an Amazon engineer.