I’ve been going to SXSW Interactive since 2007. Yes, I’m old. I remember lots from that first year: being overwhelmed by the lines and BBQ, catching a few SXSW Film screenings and escaping Austin just as the cool kids of SXSW Music began loading in. What I don’t remember is coming across much comedy.
Since 2007, however, there’s been a steady growth in comedy at SXSW. There are official comedy showcases and of course the marketing dollars spent by companies each year is hilarious. I’ve even played a minor part in this growth, delivering the 2012 opening keynote about the power and importance of humor.
So, when I browsed the 2014 Panel Picker I should not have been surprised to find 33 sessions citing humor (and a slightly different set of 33 citing “comedy”). Here are a few of our favorite comedy-related SXSW sessions, selected for a combination of self-promotion, nepotism, genuine interest, and likelihood of public meltdown. We recommend you vote for the whole slate.
Communicating with Humor: Perils & Best Practices
Oh look, it’s a panel I’m on! I’m joining The Ad Council, Water.org and Draftfcb Chicago to talk about using humor in campaigns for social good. How can humor deliver important information? We’ll keep the answer secret until March 2014, unless it’s not picked in which case we’ll keep it a secret forever.
Here’s a relevant clip created for the Melbourne Metro Trains called “Dumb Ways To Die”
The Humor-Centered Design Process
I first met Chelsey Delaney four years ago when she was a grad student in design at Carnegie Mellon investigating the role of humor in design. She’s come a long way and now works as a UX designer and comedian. For this four-hour workshop she’s teamed up with funny improv/standup/air sex champion Chris Trew.
The LOLs of Nations: Understanding Global Memes
I spoke a lot about satire outside of the U.S. in my 2012 keynote, so I’m stoked to see this session which focuses on memes around the world and their effect on cultural exchange and politics. If global comedy and satire are something you appreciate or practice, request to join this Facebook group.
New Yorker cartoonist Bob Mankoff explores what happens when the audience picks the punchline, sharing the lessons he’s learned from the weekly caption contest. Bob once sent us a very kind email, which is more than enough to earn our unquestioned support.
Modern Seinfeld: An Oral Re-History
YOU HAVE TO VOTE FOR THIS PANEL! It contains the co-author of the @SeinfeldToday Twitter account, Josh Gondelman. Yes, panels contain people. Also Josh is a friend.
Super Art Fight
We like to think our Comedy Hack Day is the nerdiest thing ever, but this is pretty damn high on the list. Live art happening in a competitive format with live music.
Bigger than Bieber: A History of Epic Rap Battles
Yes, YES, YES!!
How Twitter Humorists Landed Sweet Real World Gigs
“How do you monetize Twitter?” is a question people often ask. The answer is generally: “Indirectly.” This session features a few comedic Twitter celebs that turned their feed-optimized voices into real paying gigs. Plus, @JennyJohnsonHi5 is involved and she’s one of the funniest people on Internet.
Share YOUR Toilet Paper Story on FB! Seriously??
Like a cousin we never knew we had, Mister Face is a New York company also focused on marrying comedy and technology in some unholy backroom ceremony presided over by an ad executive. We’ve worked with and are fans of and its engineer Brian Fountain who is a veteran of Comedy Hack Day events and was the first to have his hackathon creation ship via the iOS App Store.
The Unruly Mob Would Like to Comment
Remember when Texas State Senator Wendy Davis did that big filibuster? This session looks at the Internet side of the explosive reaction. When in Austin, find out what goes down in the big building with the freaky red lights on Congress St.
How To Make Anything Funny, Even Economic Collapse
This panel involves a lot of things we like including Del Close, Kickstarter, and the global financial crisis.
Here are two more from our allies, but I’m too tired to summarize the summaries, so click and discover the magical world of text descriptions for yourself: Funny Or Die’s The Occasional: Comedy in a New Age
and Why We’re Better Than You, Presented By The Writer
Voting deadline is this Friday, so if you find this post after that, you’re an Internet failure.