One of my friends sent me some silly Star Wars jokes this week (“Where did Luke get his cybernetic hand? The second hand store.”) and on impulse I decided to see how AI would do at generating more.

I decided to use GPT-3, which I knew had surely seen Star Wars jokes during its broad internet training, but which I hoped hadn’t seen so many that it simply had them memorized. I gave GPT-3 my friend’s four Star Wars jokes (3 Luke jokes, 1 Vader) and then a leading word like “what” or “who”, and let it fill in what came next.

On the plus side, the jokes ARE new. And they are about Star Wars. On the minus side, AI is still terrible at jokes.

Here’s the largest, highest-performing GPT-3 variant, DaVinci, writing Star Wars jokes:

Who wrote the book on handball?
Waldo to the Dark Side.
What would be on the Death Star menu?
Warm thin-crust pizza.
How does Obi-Wan Kenobi have such sharp teeth?
Classic Crest.
Green Apple Flavor.
What do Luke Skywalker and a frog have in common?
They both want to outjump a beam of light.
What is Darth Vader’s favorite color?
Dark Green.
What sorry planet did Darth Vader rule?
What do Princess Leia & a table lamp have in common?
They’ve both seen the Emperor’s buttocks.
How did Darth Vader die?
What are you talking about, you skinny little Jedi? You don’t KNOW! Ah, hah hah!
I told you! Ha, ha!
Don’t try to scare us with your cheap organ music - there’s no one here but AI and I.

They have all the surface appearance of jokes without actually functioning as such. It’s like one of those cardboard computers at a furniture store.

It’s even worse when you look at the performance of the smaller GPT-3 variants. Ada, for example, seemed to lose track of whether these were supposed to be specifically Star Wars jokes, or even jokes at all. After generating a couple of maybe-jokes in a row, it would devolve into random ominous Star Wars flavored utterances.

How did Darth Vader spell his name?
Th!dd to snooze.
Why did Obi-wan say if he liked broccoli?
Try not to take one of them fries.
What did Phasma’s father say to Luke?
God bless you and all the rebels, always have a hankerin over the Wookiee's.
How does people think that Jan 1649 is an imaginary date?
Because they're buying stuff.
What were the skeletons in the closet.
They were bugs, mysterious.
Who is going to get the cookie?
Tiny one.
The most terrible of bears.
Where and how are you heading to finish up with IT?
Third eye modulation.
The power plant.
He-Sup, on your reappearance, my love, I have to impress you.
He-Sup, may the carpet please oscillate, just for me.
Luke's haircut.
He was eyeing the wig in the fireplace to the right.
DENTAL Minister of Fantastic Qunari.
Where the Skywalker robes have landed.
The droid was Kenobi’s entire house.
He had a villa and organ grinder.
A duck interrupted the wall because it was double-parked.

It looks like the exact phrase “He was eyeing the wig in the fireplace to the right” doesn’t appear on the internet (well, at least not until now), in case there was any doubt that Ada is innovating here.

I also gave this task to the middle two GPT-3 variants in size, Curie and Babbage, and they generated what are either very terrible Star Wars jokes or very incorrect Star Wars trivia (it’s usually oddly hard to tell).

What superpower does Emperor Palpatine have?
Obscuring the Earth with mist.

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