Photo by Ticka Kao on Unsplash

Let’s Take a Moment to Discover if AI Can Write a Good Joke

Or any joke at all.

Sarah Lofgren
3 min readFeb 11, 2023


One of the most challenging things about being a comedy writer is the part where we have to write funny stuff. Other writers, the ones who aren’t trying to make people laugh, don’t know how easy they have it.

However, those unfunny writers are finding themselves vulnerable to the rapid encroachment of artificial intelligence (AI). Anyone, including an enterprising robot, can churn out halfway decent content on sickle cell research, the death of Grigori Rasputin, or personal finance.

Not everyone can write a mildly humorous fart joke.

But, it’s possible I’m underestimating the power of AI. Perhaps AI has swiveled its cybernetic eyeballs toward the insanely profitable world of comedy writing. Perhaps our overlords are planning to reach their robotic hands into my pocket and pinch the 3.45 dollars I earned on last month. Perhaps their capacity for silliness is far beyond anything I could have envisioned.

If that’s the case, I need to know—so I can refine my panic attacks for better specificity.

My cowriter for this article (who will not be getting paid) is called ChatGPT, but I will be calling him Chatimander G. Pthmushinov for no reason other than my own amusement.

Keep in mind that, as with most things, I have no idea what I’m doing and am proceeding on optimism and misplaced confidence alone.

Let’s get this shitshow started!

So, I’ve entered the following text: “Please tell me a story about a hilarious robot who refuses to eat his vegetables.”

The AI is writing. Hey, Chatimander G. Pthmushinov, slow down. Leave some words for the rest of us.

Alright. The story is done. It is a story about a robot and vegetables. My original plan was to paste the results here, but… it’s boring? And long. The structure and grammar are solid enough, but wow, it’s a real yawn. I’m going to take a nap break so I can regain the enthusiasm necessary to continue this post.


If I dared submit this copy to McSweeney’s, they would respond with a polite rejection, while adding my name to a Google doc with the title “Do Not Approach if Seen in Public Due to Extremely Questionable Grasp on Humor, Dangerous Aura, and Also Likely Smells Of Cheese.”

(It’s possible my name is already on that list, but, again, misplaced optimism.)

Let’s make this a little simpler. I was too ambitious the first time. “Tell me a short joke.”

“Why did the tomato turn red?
Because it saw the salad dressing!”

Chatimander G. Pthmushinov is a cheeky plagiarist! I happen to know, as a connoisseur of terrible jokes, that this is a preexisting terrible joke and not a fresh, new terrible joke.

How about: “Fart joke, please.”

“Here’s a classic fart joke:
Why did the fart cross the road?
To get to the other cheek!”

Heh. Still not original, but at least it’s mildly humorous. It appears Chatimander G. Pthmushinov is wandering the internet, scooping up a collection of questionable jokes, and informing people of their existance.

Let’s test that theory. “Tell me a period joke.”

“An error occurred. If this issue persists please contact us through our help center at”

Heh. Heheheheheheheheheheheheh. 😆 Okay. I’ll hang up my keyboard. All hail our new comedy-writing AI overlords.

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