George Carlin’s Daughter Slams AI-Generated Comedy Special: “No Machine Will Ever Replace His Genius”

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Summary

  • Controversy arises as an AI-generated stand-up special featuring George Carlin’s voice receives criticism from his daughter and fans.
  • The podcast responsible for the special did not seek permission to use Carlin’s material or train their AI model with his work.
  • The accessibility of AI technology now allows anyone to create AI-generated content featuring both living and deceased individuals, sparking concerns about consent and the authenticity of artistry.


The world of AI-generated content continues to court controversy as a new stand-up special featuring a computer-generated version of the late George Carlin’s voice was released on YouTube and instantly drew a scathing response from the actor and comedian’s daughter, Kelly.

The video was released on the streaming platform by Dudesy, an AI comedy podcast hosted by Will Sasso and Chad Kultgen, under the less than subtle title of “George Carlin: I’m Glad I’m Dead!” The completely AI created “special” features a fabricated version of Carlin’s voice discussing modern topics in his delivery style. However, Carlin’s daughter, like many of the comedian’s fans, has not seen the funny side of the release. In a post on X (Twitter), she wrote:

“My statement regarding the AI generated George Carlin special: My dad spent a lifetime perfecting his craft from his very human life, brain and imagination. No machine will ever replace his genius. These 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. 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.”

Following up on the post, Kelly later confirmed to a follower that the podcast has not sought any permission to train their AI model with Carlin’s available stand-up shows and use his name as part of the production.

You can see the real George Carlin in action below:

Related: George Carlin A.I. Releases Full Stand-Up Comedy Special, and It’s Horrifying


Is The Revival of Dead Stars Through AI Wrong?

Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars Rogue One
Lucasfilm

The resurrection of deceased stars through computer-generated graphics is nothing new. TV ads have been manipulating old footage of long-dead actors from the 30s and 40s to promote products. The Star Wars franchise has brought back actors including Peter Cushing and Carrie Fisher after their deaths to appear on-screen again. But the release of the George Carlin special is something altogether different.

While the generation of new content featuring deceased stars, whether in voice only or with full video, was previously reserved for just movie studios or those with a hefty amount of expensive tech behind them, the same technology is now readily available to everyone. From ChatGPT to iPhone apps, there are several easily accessible ways for anyone to create some form of AI-generated content based on both people living and dead.

Previously there have been reports of actors such as Bruce Willis signing away their likeness to be used in AI-generated projects, but these have mostly been debunked – for now. Recently, SAG-AFTRA was reported to have made a deal with Replica Studios to allow likenesses of actors’ voices to be licensed for use in video games. While the deal was said to be ensuring “performers’ consent and negotiation for the use of their voice,” the voice actors this was said to be protecting were less than impressed with the announcement. Voice actors including Mortal Kombat’s Steve Blum, Avatar: The Last Airbender’s Greg Baldwin and voice acting casting director Samantha A. Morrison were among the many to slam the proposal, despite the SAG-AFTRA claiming it had been “approved by affected members of the union’s voiceover performer community.”

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