One of my first memories was repeating dirty jokes that my brothers made me tell in front of all the family. Those memories came back to me during my teenage years, and now again while I am writing this. As a software developer, I often get mixed opinions on being a comedian. When I told my co-workers I do stand-up, they acted like everyone else: “I have a joke for you, isn’t it funny? You can use it!” Other people are cool about it, but I prefer not to tell too many people that I am in comedy. I guess the secret is out now!
Hi, my name is Filipe Barroso, and I am a software developer in Android apps and artificial intelligence. I am from Lisbon, Portugal, born and raised. I am also an Organizer of a Google Developer Group in Lisbon, and I give some tech talks now and then.
My interest in comedy matured when, in my teenage years, I learned that you could pass a strong message while making people laugh. More importantly, people listen to and think about important topics that they otherwise would not have in a normal setting.
Comedy is definitely helpful at the workplace, but sometimes I need to be careful not to exaggerate! I can easily alleviate the tension during small talk with a funny comment. Stand-up comedy has also taught me to be more of a fast thinker when replying to people. I am also an organizer of a tech community, and stand-up helped me to become a better MC at conferences and to be an even better speaker during my presentations. Without the responsibility of making someone laugh, presentations are so easy, and I feel comfortable in front of an audience.
Even before I started doing stand-up, I always liked to go to museums, concerts, art shows, or simply walk around a bit. It is important to restart the brain; sometimes during these moments, I even find an answer to a tech problem. As for being creative at work, I do not have any approach that overlaps with my comedy routines. However, I do analyse the joke methodically. I strip them down and apply all the theory of comedy that I know. Although, that is usually hard work, so in the end I just scratch up something a couple of hours before the show.
I have had a couple of awkward moments doing stand-up, but one in particular stands out the most. I do not know what happened to me, but this one time I stayed on stage and would not shut up or leave. It was during the beginning of my time in stand-up, when I was just doing 5-minute spots at a small club. However, that night I went over 10 minutes and did not see the warnings from the MC to stop. I eventually started, on stage, to hide behind a chair… but I continued to talk. When I finally stopped talking, I could feel the silence, like needles, from the audience.
Everyone can see that tech people are funny, even if they have the stereotype of being awkward or socially inept because, come on, even that is funny. Rarely, it is not that I do not have funny moments; it is just that it would only be funny for my tech peers and definitely not for drunk people at a bar, at 10PM. Like doctors have their private jokes regarding Rheumatologic Disorders, tech people have jokes about their least favourite software or hardware.