After film, video games, journalism, and porn, live stand up comedy is next on the list of things to enter the virtual reality goggle-wearing future. AltspaceVR teamed up with Comedy Bang Bang alum Reggie Watts to create a seedy underground comedy club in digital space where viewers can watch and engage in a show without having to actually go anywhere. “It was a great night that showed social VR as an excellent new communication medium that can bring performers and their audiences together,” CEO Eric Romo tells The Creators Project.
AltspaceVR is using virtual reality to create these connections for people to do things they would ordinarily do in real life, like go see Watts in a comedy club. “We provide the widest range of activities available in VR and we maximize access with cross-platform support,” Romo explains. “Reggie’s act is great for VR and he is very popular with our users. He has attracted, and we have been able to accommodate, the largest gatherings of people from around the world at one time in VR.” This technology can enable musicians, actors and comedians to get on a stage from wherever they are in the world, without the hassle of venue logistics- and fans can attend from wherever they are, regardless of distance.
While live performances translate well to VR, comedy is particularly well-suited due to the energy of its social setting. The same contagious laughter can be heard during the virtual comedy events as one would experience during a live show, because you feel like you're attending the experience with a crowd. “We designed a cool underground comedy club space and accelerated some new technology we were working on. We wanted a better experience for Reggie, so we accelerated work on our FrontRow™ technology, which allows an unlimited number of attendees simultaneously, in multiple virtual rooms,” Romo tells The Creators Project. “Reggie appears in full motion captured VR in each room, and every attendee is just a few feet away from him in VR.”
AltspaceVR and Watts are currently pushing boundaries by creating a reality that can bring audiences and performers together, at the same time in one location. “Reggie’s experimentation with the medium and interaction with the audience was definitely a highlight. For comedians and musicians who know all too well the challenge of living on the road, the idea of performing for thousands of people without leaving your house is pretty appealing.”
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