George Carlin’s family speaks out against AI-generated special of their dad

We lost the beloved, irascible George Carlin in 2008 when he was 71 years young. For his sake, I’m glad that he was spared from seeing what we’ve done with the world since his passing. Speaking selfishly, man do I wish we could have had his commentary on the past 10 years. He was already railing decades ago against things like pro-life Republicans only caring about babies until birth, and Mother Nature exacting revenge on us for all we’ve put her through. If he was fired up about those issues then, can you imagine what he’d have to say about them now? And of course, I would love Love LOVE to have heard Carlin decimate Trump and his enablers, in language both eloquent and too filthy for TV. Although I lament not having his searing input on today’s woes, I’m not so desperate that I’d want to listen to an AI Carlin-impersonator try out new, unauthorized material. Carlin’s daughter Kelly doesn’t want this abomination either:

George Carlin’s family is pushing back against a new artificial intelligence-generated comedy special claiming to bring the legend’s work back to life.

The AI icon is true to form with an inflammatory set featuring opinions on Trump, transgender Americans, reality TV and tech. The hour-long comedy special from Dudesy features an AI spin on Carlin’s takes on current events. Dudesy is an AI comedy platform from Mad TV alum Will Sasso and podcaster Chad Kultgen.

“For the next hour, I’ll be doing my best George Carlin impersonation just like a human being would. I tried to capture his iconic style to tackle the topics I think the comedy legend would be talking about today,” a YouTube description written by AI reads.

Carlin’s daughter, Kelly Carlin-McCall, has since responded in a post on Instagram, expressing disdain for the technological take on comedy and saying the AI impression will never “replace his genius.”

“My dad spent a lifetime perfecting his craft from his very human life, brain and imagination. No machine will ever replace his genius,” she captioned a screenshot of a news story on the special. “Thes AI generated products are clever attempts at trying to recreate a mind that will never exist again. Let’s let the artist’s work speak for itself.”

She continued: “Humans are so afraid of the void that we can’t let what has fallen into it stay there. Here’s an idea, how about we give some actual living human comedians a listen to? But if you want to listen to the genuine George Carlin, he has 14 specials that you can find anywhere.”

Responding to a commenter asking if the AI comedy special was authorized, Carlin-McCall responded that it was not.

USA TODAY has reached out to representatives for Carlin’s estate for comment.

During the stand-up special, Dudesy clarifies Dudesy’s recreation is not the real Carlin and the content was created in the same way a human impressionist would.

“I listened to all of George Carlin’s material and did my best to imitate his voice, cadence and attitude,” the AI impression said at the start of the set.

[From USA Today]

“‘I listened to all of George Carlin’s material and did my best to imitate his voice, cadence and attitude,’ the AI impression said at the start of the set.” This has to be the worst, unfunniest start to a stand up show in comic history. If this AI wannabe had really done its homework on Carlin it would have nixed that flat, earnest opener. I hope Carlin’s family really does have all their ducks in a row on rights and can shut down this attempt from Dudesy (what a terrible name) toute suite. Like social media before it, AI is exploding faster than government regulations and laws can manage it. Authors and actors and creators with means can keep suing as cases arise, but the beast is unleashed.

If you’re jonesing for some Carlin, take his daughter’s tip and check out one of his 14 specials. I also thoroughly recommend the two-part documentary George Carlin’s American Dream on Max. It’s heavy though, so if you’re purely in need of laughter stick to the specials! As for Dudesy, I think we all know the seven dirty words Carlin would be directing at them, may he rest in profanity.

Photos credit: John Atashian/Avalon, Dennis Van Tine/Avalon, Richard C Murray/Avalon

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14 Responses to “George Carlin’s family speaks out against AI-generated special of their dad”

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  1. LooneyTunes says:

    May he rest in profanity! Love it.

  2. Jay says:

    I really don’t understand the intent or audience for this. How many fans of George Carlin want to see someone doing an extended Carlin impression, however uncanny? I don’t get it.

  3. Ariel says:

    This makes me want to burn down the AI people’s houses. It’s disrespectful- at the very least.
    It’s disgusting, it’s profane (not in a Carlin way), it’s horrifying.

    I mean an artist has no control if someone makes a crappy lifetime movie about them- but that’s a fiction,

    Purporting to put words in the mouth of one of the greatest comedians and word smiths who has existed in my lifetime ?

    How is it not yet illegal? And why isn’t punishable by loss of all assets and imprisonment having to listen to a really bad comedian for 7 years. Dane cook maybe?

  4. Turtledove says:

    Based on the things we know about him, George Carlin would have HATED this.
    I know I do. Just another way for non-talented people to make money off the talent of others.

    There are probably a million ways that AI could help humanity in a good way, and instead we see it used to ripoff artists and take jobs away from humans so that corporations can make more money on top of the millions they are already making.

    I saw an article yesterday: “Google has laid off hundreds of employees working on its hardware, voice assistance and engineering teams as part of cost-cutting measures.” They’ll replace those people with AI, because you know, GOOGLE isn’t making enough money.

    • Alarmjaguar says:

      Guess their whole “do no evil” mandate was just too hard to follow when money was on the line.

  5. BeyondTheFringe says:

    I said this elsewhere yesterday but I heartily believe it: you would be hard pressed to find a comedian–dead or alive–that would hate this more or be more of an outspoken critic of the dangers of AI in the creative arts than George Carlin.

    Only other one that could be his equal in it is probably Bill Hicks. Those two would be leading the charge.

  6. Kitten says:

    Sigh. I wish we could just k*ll the technology once and for all but alas, there’s just too much profit to be made. But IMO the propensity for bad outweighs any propensity for good when it comes to AI. I used to think that climate change would end us first but it will definitely be the artificial intelligence shit. We are so completely doomed.

    • Alarmjaguar says:

      I hate to join you in your pessimism, @Kitten, but I agree. And frankly, more AI means more computing, which will only hasten climate change (I realize the irony of saying that on the internet from my computer, but it is true). Sign. It is all so utterly frustrating.

  7. JanetDR says:

    This is awful! I hope his family gets some kind of resolution out of this that prevents this kind of thing going forward.

  8. JaneS says:

    AI, George Carlin must be spinning in his grave.
    Why? Carlin was so intelligent, original. Just rerun his stand up specials, they are still very good.
    How come his family can’t stop this?
    Who inherited the rights to his public image and work?
    Lawyers! Lawyers!

    Damn shame about this.

    I’ve heard that the estate of Marilyn Monroe continues to make Millions.
    For someone Marilyn barely knew.

    AI and hologram of deceased talent is vile and a total money grab.
    Supposedly there is a George Michael hologram show being put together.
    Watch his own work, performed by him.
    Freddie Mercury too. I refuse to ever watch the Bohemian Rhapsody movie. Freddie himself is on Youtube still. Freddie, not some buck tooth wearing actor.

  9. Dara says:

    Why do the AI fellas not concentrate on figuring out how to do things the rest of us don’t like doing? There are so many things I wish I could ask an artificial interface to take off my to-do list. I want JARVIS to file my taxes, then find a good place to throw a birthday party for a friend – make the reservation, send the invites, buy the decorations and the perfect gift, then figure out what I should wear. Or the Star Trek computer to give me the entire history of the frying pan or explain why the neighborhood rabbits eat one plant to the ground but leave the same exact plant next to it entirely alone. It would make me uncontrollably happy to watch R2D2 empty my dishwasher and scrub my toilet then post up for sentry duty to battle said rabbits. With all the time I then have on my hands I would watch the real George Carlin do his thing.

    Yes, I know there are tools that do some of this stuff already, but they kinda suck. I want the future that all my favorite sci fi shows promised me.

  10. Arhus says:

    Lol Will Sasso

    How are they able to do this? Doesn’t the Family/estate own rights to his image or whatever? I don’t understand this. AI sucks