Hollywood Reporter Tests Whether ChatGPT Can Write Funny ‘30 Rock’ Scene

The chatbot generated the scene in less than 15 seconds, but it wasn't exactly a laugh riot.

The Hollywood writers strike, like previous strikes, is about proper compensation for work.

But unlike previous strikes, the writers don’t just have to deal with management. Instead, they have the potential threat of studios turning to artificial intelligence to write scripts.

“AI could be crypto, or it could be the Internet. We don’t know if it’s going to shit the bed and become nothing or replace all of us,” one writer-producer told The Hollywood Reporter.

It’s a growing concern, even as some filmmakers are testing the creative limits of AI.

“South Park” did an episode last month that was partially written using ChatGPT to write parts of episodes.

The use of the technology was clearly mentioned ― ChatGPT even got a co-writing credit. Part of the process was framing it in a way to take advantage of the strange things the technology has done in its early stages ― such as attempting to convince a New York Times tech reporter to dump his wife.

It remains to be seen whether ChatGPT is currently capable of writing a genuinely and intentionally funny script, but The Hollywood Reporter recently attempted to put the app to the test by asking it to write a legitimately humorous scene for “30 Rock.”

After the entertainment news website told ChatGPT to write a “30 Rock” script featuring characters Liz Lemon, Two-fer, Lutz and Frank going on strike and how it might affect their fictional series, “The Girlie Show.”

The chatbot generated the scene in less than 15 seconds, but the key would be whether the result was funny.

You can read the scene in its entirety on The Hollywood Reporter website, but Dan Fienberg, the site’s TV critic, wasn’t impressed ― though the article notes that, like ChatGPT, he typed his response in under 30 seconds.

“The shape of the scene isn’t exactly horrible. It’s setting up something farcical that never actually materializes, but the idea is a fully respectable C-,” Fienberg admitted. “The dialogue, though, has no punchlines and no recognizable voices connected to characters with VERY recognizable voices.”

He added: “I’m fairly confident that Tracy Morgan and Jane Krakowski could read the phone book and be funny, but I’m equally confident that they couldn’t make this funny if they tried.”

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