Why Isn’t The PAR Recording Function Automatic During A CEP Performance Evaluation?

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Probably the most commonly asked question concerning Comedy Evaluator Pro (CEP) is this:

Why is the recording and measurement of laughter during a CEP performance evaluation not automatic when you start a performance evaluation?

Let me provide you some brief background information so that you can understand why recording the length of each laughter, cheering or applause (PAR – Positive Audience Response) event is manually conducted by the user when using CEP.

About Automatic Laughter Detection Software

Over the last decade I have evaluated and tested multiple software platforms that claim to measure audience laughter episodes. Yes, they work — but under specific conditions.

Unfortunately, they are all primarily based on one particular aspect that makes them virtually unusable with CEP as a viable performance evaluation tool and that is:

Commercial software applications primarily designed to detect and record laughter episodes are based on detection of significant volume changes based on large audience dynamic laughter responses.

To easily understand why this sort of “automatic laughter detection” functionality would either not work or not work well at all for the vast majority of stand-up comedy performance evaluations, let’s look at the audience/laughter dynamics associated with the comedians who would be most likely to use CEP for performance evaluations:

New Comedians: New comedians don’t perform for hundreds of people in the beginning. They usually perform for 30 people or less, which significantly reduces the potential volume difference in laughter that could be detected by an automatic detection software process.

Experienced Comedians: Most experienced comedians will test their comedy material at open mics, again with small to very small audiences that may not produce the volume differences needed to accurately detect laughter responses, even if their new comedy material is working well.

Audience Seating: Even with larger audiences of 50-100+ people, if they are sparsely seated in a venue, the laughter duration and intensity (volume) is automatically reduced which could lead to inaccurate detection of laughter.

Venue Dynamics: Venues with high to very high ceilings can have a great impact on the detectable volume of audience laughter, even for material that is generating long and frequent laughs.

Couple that information with these simple facts:

Audience laughter is NOT either very big or none at all – it is dynamic in that:

  • Some audience laughs are more intense than others.
  • Some audience laughs are longer than others.
  • Not every audience member will necessarily laugh at every punchline simultaneously, even when the funniest comedy material is delivered which affects overall laughter volume.

In other words, a determination by any comedian on whether or not their comedy material is effective at generating laughs or not SHOULD NOT be primarily based on the volume of laughter generated related to audience size, given all the factors that can impact laughter volume.

A far more viable and accurate approach to conducting comedy performance evaluations involves the accurate manual measurement of the frequency and duration of laughter without regard to the actual volume of laughter generated — which may or may not even register using an “automated laughter detection” process.

It is for these very reasons that “automatic laughter detection” functionality is not a feature of CEP.

The Bottom Line

CEP is provided as a comedy performance evaluation tool that will provide the most objective performance data possible when used properly regardless of comedian experience, audience size, venue dynamics or the volume differences of laughter generated during any performance.

The way I look at it is this:

If a comedian is unwilling to operate just a couple of easy-to-use buttons in order to get accurate and actionable objective feedback about their stand-up comedy performances for performance improvement, then they really aren’t interested in performance improvement at all.

And there’s nothing wrong with that at all. It simply provides more potential advantages to those who are.

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