I remember watching Jerry Seinfeld’s monologue for Saturday Night Live’s 40th anniversary and thinking how incredible it would be to sit in that crowd. All of my favorite comedians in one room laughing at each other’s jokes. At SXSW, Chris Milk made my day when he released a 360 video of the monologue on Gear VR. Now it’s available as the newest release on his VRSE app. On my face.
Live From New York
Here I am, perched atop Camera 1, live on the set, feeling almost like a member of the most famous live studio audience in history. So many cue cards. Below me, the teleprompter is feeding Jerry his lines, but he doesn’t seem to need them. As he gets warmed up, I notice John Lovitz to my left, sitting behind Eddie Murphy and Leonardo DiCaprio. I like the way he giggles. When I look back over my left shoulder at Michael Douglas as he goes back and forth with Seinfeld about only hosting the show once, I see Adam Sandler in front of him, looking like he just wants to go to bed. To my right, I watch Tom Hanks and Jack Nicholsen as John Goodman defends serial hosts. I think Goodman is hilarious. They seem to agree. I think to myself how different this is than anything I’ve ever watched. Chris had something to say to Adweek about how vastly different it is to tell stories with VR.
VR is a completely new form of storytelling. And the language and form of storytelling needs to completely evolve into something new,” he said. “What we normally do at the beginning of mediums is just shoot the old mediums with the new technology… It takes, typically, decades for any medium to figure out what its definitive model of storytelling is. The feature film was not created at the beginning of cinema.
I laugh out loud when Seinfeld singles out Larry David. Even though I’m staring into my phone, I feel like I get the guy a little more now. My sense of presence breaks momentarily when I hear my wife’s sigh of disapproval. I’m still wearing my phone on face. Whatever. My man Jerry goes back and forth with a few more celebrity participants, and that’s when I lock in on Eddie Murphy. That guy’s a stone wall. I wonder if I could ever make him laugh. Probably not, I decide. But I sure like being my own camera. I’m free to explore the whole room. I always will be. Thanks, Chris Milk, for preserving my favorite comedians in their natural habitat for all of eternity in my own personal people zoo.
If you want to experience some low barrier, highly entertaining virtual reality experiences, download Chris Milk’s VRSE app. Along with the SNL monologue, you’ll find a handful of other great little experiences. If you already have a Samsung Galaxy Note 4, consider picking up the Gear VR and watch it there along with all kinds of other cool stuff. If you’re packing an iPhone, like me, something like Google Cardboard will have to do. I picked up a universal headset for apps and experiences like these so I’d still have my hands free.