Creators of AI-generated George Carlin special sued by comedian’s estate

FILE-George Carlin performing on stage at the River Rock Show Theatre. (Photo by Kevin Statham/Redferns)

A company that created an AI-generated George Carlin special is facing a lawsuit from the late comedian’s estate. 

Dudesy used Carlin’s voice and comedy style allegedly generated by a chatbot trained by the legendary comedian’s own material. Carlin died in 2008. 

A lawsuit was filed by Carlin’s estate Thursday in California. 

According to the lawsuit, Carlin’s estate claims Dudesy used the comedian’s copyrighted work to create a script for a fake Carlin comedy special and generated a "sound-alike" of the comedian "to perform" the created script.

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Dudesy’s AI-created "George Carlin special" titled "I’m Glad I’m Dead"—was made available to the public on the Dudesy podcast’s YouTube channel on January 9, 2024.

Carlin’s estate also alleges the company didn’t have permission to use Carlin’s likeness for the special and didn’t have a license to use any of the comedian’s copyrighted materials.

"My dad spent a lifetime perfecting his craft from his very human life, brain, and imagination. No machine will ever replicate his genius," the comedian’s daughter Kelly Carlin wrote in a statement in the lawsuit. 

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Dudesy podcast hosts Will Sasso and Chad Kultgen are named as defendants, along with 20 John Does — five creators associated with the AI program and 15 individuals tied to the "creation, production and sponsorship" of the special, the lawsuit notes. 

Before Dudesy created the AI-generated "George Carlin Special," the company created another one-hour "special," which featured an AI-generated Tom Brady performing an AI-generated standup comedy routine. Dudesy later removed the comedy special after Brady threatened to sue.  

Carlin’s estate is seeking a court order for an immediate removal of the special, and an unspecified amount in damages. 

This story was reported from Washington, D.C.