Inside the Secret Technology that Makes 'The Daily Show' and 'Last Week Tonight' Work

When you’re watching The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, or Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, you often see these comedians contextualize their commentary with short, specific news clips, like John Oliver’s use of a 5-second clip from a Bloomberg TV news show — just long enough to catch a newscaster saying “March Madness now brings in over a billion dollars in TV ad revenue” — in his recent NCAA segment.

Have you ever wondered where these clips come from? Does one Last Week Tonight employee watch hours of TV in the hopes that someone will drop a reference to the annual March [...]

Apple's iPhone Keyboard Is Good Because Of 'The Simpsons'

In the midst of Fast Company's oral history of design at Apple, one former Apple engineer mentioned that The Simpsons inspired the original iPhone's team to make sure their new smartphone's keyboard was really, really good. Back in 1994, The Simpsons had poked fun at the Apple Newton, a PDA that featured an incompetent handwriting recognition software. On the show, bullies Kearney and Dolph tried to write "Beat Up Martin" on the device, but it became "Eat Up Martha." Eat Up Martha became a mantra for everyone working on the new keyboard, a reminder that the text input needed to work exceptionally well. It's yet more proof that classic Simpsons episodes [...]

This Japanese Comedy Robot Is Terrifying

Here's video of a robot developed in Japan to make people laugh. It was created by a team of researchers at Japan's Waseda University led by Professor Atsuo Takanishi. The team wrote sketches for the robot to perform and broke down humor into "funny behavior (such as exaggeration, dirty jokes, parody, sympathetic stories and laughter), funny context (a running gag or doing something unexpected) and funny character (self-flattery, self-deprecation and imitation)." Results found that having the robot imitate a familiar human comedian made 80% of the audience laugh, but they were probably just laughing because they were watching a robot programmed to do comedy.

(via CNET)

Netflix Released an 'Arrested Development' Fakeblock App

Netflix unveiled a new app today, inspired by the new season of Arrested Development. (SPOILERS FROM THE NEW SEASON FOLLOW) It's called Fakeblock, a digital woodblock instrument just like the one George Michael invents. The description of the free app reads, "With over 100 million users, Fakeblock is the OC's most popular digital wood instrument. Entertain guests with life-like stereo wood percussion sounds. Appeal to potential dates and family members with high-def woodgrain imagery. It's not just a woodblock, it's a lifestyle." The website also says, "Fakeblock is produced by Gobias Industries under license from the Bluth-Austero Company." Head on over to Fakeblock.com or download the app for Android [...]

Key Piece of Technology Makes Clip-Finding Easy for 'Daily Show,' 'Colbert,' 'The Soup,' and More

The Wrap has a piece out today on SnapStream, the television recording service that makes searching through thousands of clips for The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Last Week Tonight, and The Soup possible. Using closed captioning, SnapStream allows users to record hours of television and search for news stories through key words and phrases. From The Wrap:

Here's how it works: A TV show, network, or campaign buys SnapStream servers and connects them to a TV feed. Clients can record whatever they want, strip out the closed captions and program guide information, and organize their finds into a library.

The Daily Show and Colbert have only been [...]

Chris Parnell Explains Deon Cole's Dick Joke

The always-delightful Chris Parnell dropped by Conan last night to help Deon Cole out by elaborating on a crude penis joke he made about the iPhone 5. Parnell goes into elaborate scientific detail to explain exactly how the iPhone 5's panorama mode makes it possible for Cole to photograph his large penis, using egghead terms like "aspect ratio," "field of view," and "barrel distortion." Chris Parnell should just hang out with immature high school guys to explain their terrible dick jokes with big words because this video proves he can make even the most basic sex joke sound super classy.