Buddy Rivers Live was a live networked performance of an automatic comedian. The first performance took place in a gallery in Bermondsey, London, in 2008. The project used live internet searches and feeds to create jokes automatically/ on the fly. These text jokes were then converted into voice via a (server based) text to speech synthesiser, and then finally relayed to the audience. This automatic process meant that Buddy told jokes forever!
The core of this project is a computer network generated comedian, capable of an endless generated network performance. His performance is even affected by user interaction (heckling), and I built in some primitive AI.
I wanted to construct a character who could say unpredictable things and upset people. Adding sound to this project took my work into new areas. It was like bringing my creation to life. I set up a text-to-speech synthesiser on an Internet server, so each constructed joke was transformed into speech.
I wrote a backstory for this project, and published some interviews in the pre-show material, to try to drum up interest beforehand. The idea was that Buddy used to be a famous comedian, and hung around with many big stars. He used to perform often at the Leroy Club, but eventually his popularity waned and he retired to Marbella. This was to be a one-off show, to help save the club.