About 9 years ago we introduced a comic character spokesman named CompBob!, who represented our earliest Members' Area, and eventually went on to serve in a variety of capacities on our website. The role he is best remembered for, however, is the one representing possibly the worst standup comic on the face of the earth, as star of the weekly CompBob! Friday Joke of the Week.

CompBob! is a computer generated avatar using a computer synthesized “text to speech” (TTS) voice, and as a result has all the passion, inflection and emotion of a dead tree. Yet, week after week, he churned out a new joke, and even used material submitted from his audience. For many, his deadpan approach is what gave him his humorous charm, and people responded quite favorably to him. We offered him in this capacity under the simple philosophy that life is too short to be serious all of the time, even in a serious business like workers' compensation.

Alas, the technology that enabled CompBob! was also to be his downfall, as the TTS voice used for him (Microsoft Mike) was not compatible on Windows machines after Microsoft XP. We kept him alive as long as we could, but when the machine he lived on, our last XP machine, finally died, CompBob! went to the grave with it.

We thought he was done. Dead and buried. Shuffled off to Buffalo, so to speak, but we were wrong. Over the years, people have continued to ask, both in person and by email, about CompBob!. They want to know where he went, and if he will be back. It was strange (I mean really strange, because CompBob! sucked at telling jokes), but he resonated with people, and they wanted him back. So for this year, we delved into the computer graveyard in the back room, built a reliable Frankenputer, and, just like the movie, brought CompBob! back to life. He has a new studio and a zippy new tie color. Frankly all we're missing are the angry torch bearing villagers.

Give CompBob! some time. They are bound to show up eventually.

At any rate, CompBob! and his Friday Joke of the Week will be back on the site starting tomorrow, Friday January 9, 2015. He is moving into his own area right here in the CompNewsNetwork section.

Please accept my sincerest apologies.

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