I never thought somebody could still make jokes about CAPTCHA tests funny but here we are. I, Human is a smart hour of comedy from a man who has clearly kept up to speed with technology. Where a lot of comedians around or approaching 40 will pull out the tired “I don’t understand smartphones” shtick, Yianni Agisilaou demonstrates an understanding of our rapidly advancing tech that most people half his age don’t possess.
While this could certainly alienate the older members of an audience, it’s in the intersection between humanity and machines that Agisilaou finds most of his humour. As well as keeping the retired in the crowd engaged, this also serves as a kind of philosophical focal point for the show’s laughs. I, Human is a remarkably thoughtful show, even so far as to sometimes sacrifice a joke for a musing here and there. Agisilaou raises some interesting questions as well as offering some of his own insightful perspective on where we are now and where we might be going with regards to increasing computing power and technological advancement.
There’s some genuinely surgically smart wordplay and punchlines to be found here. It’s humour that could only exist in the age of smartphones and algorithms. There’re slow moments here and there and a few lazy jokes to fill the time throughout, but it’s obviously an hour of comedy that’s been whittled down to the best of the best. Agisilaou even makes fun of that fact, presenting the iterative process of refining comedy as its own kind of joke in a cute little nod to the same process that’s used to improve search engines and targeted advertisement. At times this process is a bit too visible, where it becomes obvious that Agisilaou is working from a script, but that almost feels like a side effect of him pulling back that curtain to poke fun at the tricks of the trade. It’s hard to hold it against him when it feels so novel.
I, Human is a thoughtful stand up show and that’s more than you can say for most. I dare say a majority comedians would panic if you asked them to make this sort of subject matter funny, but Yianni Agisilaou pulls it off with the precision of a robot and the passion of a human being.