George Carlin’s Estate Sues Makers of AI-Generated Comedy Special in His Likeness

George Carlin
Legendary comedian George Carlin who passed in 2008. | Bonnie

Geoge Carlin’s estate has begun legal action over an AI-generated hour-long comedy special created by a YouTube channel.

Dudesy uploaded the video on January 9 featuring AI-generated audio that sounds like Carlin while the video contains a series of AI images that loosely relate to what is being said.

The video, which has surpassed half a million views, has been met with fierce criticism, not least from the late comic’s daughter Kelly Carlin.

“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,” Kelly Carlin wrote on X (formerly Twitter) after it was released.

But now Kelly has taken action by filing a complaint at the Los Angeles federal court on Thursday that alleges Duedesy infringed on Carlin’s copyrighted materials and likeness.

The George Carlin estate wants the immediate removal of the video and for all copies to be destroyed. They are also requesting unspecified compensation for damages.

“The Dudesy Special is a bastardization of Carlin’s real work and his legacy,” reads the complaint. “George Carlin, if he were alive today, may well have commented upon the topics discussed in the Dudesy Special, but he would have had control over what those comments were.”

At the onset of the video, Dudesy makes it clear that the video is AI and it is not really George Carlin performing. But, the narrator dubiously claims that it was developed “in the exact same way a human impressionist would”, i.e. listening to all of Carlin’s material and “did my best to imitate his voice, cadence, and attitude as well as the subject matter he would be interested in today.”

The synthetic Carlin touches on topics like mass shootings in the United States, Trump, and artificial intelligence.

The Dudesy channel previously made an AI-generated comedy featuring the likeness of legendary NFL quarterback Tom Brady but the channel removed the video after Brady’s lawyers threatened to sue.

Will Sasso and Chad Kultgen from Dudesy, who are both named in the complaint, responded to the furor around the video calling AI “the next paintbrush” adding that it is a “new tool that’s going to be utilized in every facet of life.”