Stand-up comedy as a way to improve rationality skills

Epistemic sta­tus: Believed, but hard to know how much to ad­just for op­por­tu­nity costs

I’m won­der­ing whether stand-up com­edy would be a good way to ex­pand and test one’s “ra­tio­nal­ity skills” and/​or just gen­eral in­ter­ac­tion skills. One thing I like about it is that you get im­me­di­ate feed­back: the au­di­ence ei­ther laughs at your joke, or they don’t.

Promi­nent ex­is­ten­tial risk re­searcher Nick Bostrom used to be a stand-up co­me­dian:

For my post­grad­u­ate work, I went to Lon­don, where I stud­ied physics and neu­ro­science at King’s Col­lege, and ob­tained a PhD from the Lon­don School of Eco­nomics. For a while I did a lit­tle bit stand-up com­edy on the vibrant Lon­don pub and the­atre cir­cuit.

It was also men­tioned at the Lon­don LW meetup in June 2011:

Com­edy as Anti-Com­part­men­tal­iza­tion—Another pet the­ory of mine. I was puz­zled by the amount of athe­ist co­me­di­ans out there, who peo­ple pay to see tell them that their re­li­gion is ab­surd. (Yes, Chris­tian co­me­di­ans ex­ist too. Search YouTube. I dare you.) So my the­ory is that hu­mour serves as a space where pat­terns and data from differ­ent fields are al­lowed to be su­per­im­posed on one an­other. Think of it as an anti-com­part­men­tal­iza­tion habit. Due to our brain de­sign, com­part­men­tal­iza­tion is the de­fault, so hu­mour may be a hack to counter that. And we re­ward those who do it well with high sta­tus be­cause it’s valuable. Maybe we should have tran­shu­man­ist/​ra­tio­nal­ist stand-up co­me­di­ans? We sure have a lot of in­con­sis­ten­cies to point out.

Diego Caliero thinks that there would be good ma­te­rial to draw upon from the ra­tio­nal­ist com­mu­nity.

Does any­one have any ex­pe­rience try­ing this and/​or have thoughts on whether it would be use­ful? Also, does any­one in NYC want to try it out?