SNL’s Kenan Thompson Is Looking For Comics In VR

Think you have what it takes to be the first big metaverse comedian?

SNL’s Kenan Thompson is partnering with Kyle Render of the VR comedy show Failed to Render Comedy to help him find the next big name in comedy for his Ultimate Comedy Experience.

Kyle and his partners have produced over 400 shows in VR, hosting over a quarter million visitors in their virtual comedy club on an almost daily basis via the social VR platform AltspaceVR.

Those numbers are right up there with many well-established brick-and-mortar clubs, making Render the perfect partner for someone as talented as Thompson.

During an interview with VRScout, Render talked more about the partnership, saying “This partnership between Kenan and my company is truly groundbreaking! This is the first time that avatar comedians will be joining in with real-world talent on a national stage!”

“This is validation not only for us to the many talented artists that have been performing in these virtual platforms all this time. Undiscovered talent who aren’t able to attend in-person shows and contests. And thanks to Al and I, we’ve helped make that possible”

Like most success stories, it’s all about who you know. Render and his Failed to Render Comedy show was brought in after Render’s business partner, Al Gonzales, was approached by long-time friend Sean Traynor, who is the Executive Producer of Kenan’s Ultimate Comedy Experience competition. 

Traynor saw the potential of what Render’s VR comedy show could do, saying, “Why would Kenan Thompson work with any other VR comedy team?” Traynor adds, “Failed to Render is the premier VR stand-up brand! We are so excited for this partnership and can’t wait to help comedians reach their dreams”

The partnership adds a new element to the competition by allowing comedians and fans with physical restrictions or financial hardships the opportunity to participate on multiple metaverse platforms.

Kyle Render and Gonzales have worked hard to build a bridge between Hollywood and Silicon Valley since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to their efforts the team has helped revolutionize live immersive entertainment.

Last year the team took their AltspaceVR show to Las Vegas for a one-of-a-kind hybrid comedy show that took place in a physical club and in VR. The show featured headlining comedian Stephen Briggs (Laff Tracks, Coming to the Stage, Jokesters TV) along with up-and-comers Billy Anderson, Al Gonzales, Gretchyn Boshart, and Kevin Munroe.

“For stand-up comedians, I believe VR comedy has a shot at being an effective platform to perform. It’s significantly easier to connect with an audience than in a zoom show and the immersion allows the comedian and audience to engage in a way much closer to real life,” said comedy writer Jonathan Lee-Rey, who is also the Artistic Director of Stir Friday Night and a producer of the Chicago iteration of Kaleidoscope.

Lee-Rey, who admits to having never seen a Failed to Render show, also said, “I’d be curious if there are more unique ways to perform and interact in a digital space versus real life to make the experience more desirable for an audience member. When the limitations of the metaverse are figured out, it will open the doors to other styles of comedy such as sketch and improv which would be super exciting to see virtually.”

For Render and his partners, collaborating with someone like Kenan and helping him discover the funniest comedians in the metaverse just made sense. After all, finding talent in VR is something they’ve been doing for over two years now.

A portion of the proceeds from the Ultimate Comedy Experience will go to the Cristian Rivera Foundation, a non-profit organization that works to find a cure for Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), a rare pediatric brain tumor that claims the lives of 200-300 children a year. Come out and support rising comedians while helping a great cause

To find out more about Kenan’s Ultimate Comedy Experience or sign up for the competition, click here.

Image Credit: Failed to Render Comedy

About the Scout

Bobby Carlton

Hello, my name is Bobby Carlton. When I'm not exploring the world of immersive technology, I'm writing rock songs about lost love. I'd also like to mention that I can do 25 push-ups in a row.

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