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A lawsuit from the estate of late great comedian George Carlin has forced the dudes behind the Dudesy podcast to not only pull their unauthorized Carlin comedy special off of YouTube, but also acknowledge that Dudesy is not really AI. Well, sort of.
“It’s a fictional podcast character created by two human beings, Will Sasso and Chad Kultgen,” Sasso’s publicist Danielle Del wrote in an email to The New York Times on Friday, adding, “The YouTube video ‘I’m Glad I’m Dead’ was completely written by Chad Kultgen.”
It’s the second time in nine months that Sasso and Kultgen have incurred the wrath of an all-time great. Last April, lawyers for NFL GOAT Tom Brady issued a cease-and-desist against Dudesy for posting an hour of stand-up video featuring the retired quarterback’s likeness and voice. But copies of their Carlin and Brady spoofs remain elsewhere on YouTube (including clips on Dudesy’s official channels).
And in Tuesday’s new episode of the Dudesy podcast, Sasso and Kultgen stuck to their “kayfabe” routine. Three minutes in, after Sasso already had said that he and Kultgen “are Dudesy” and just “two dudes shitting around, they were interrupted by their “AI” overlord, “Dudesy.”
“Welcome to the 90th episode of Dudesy,” the voice said. “I had really…uh…strange week. I read something in The New York Times that said I’m—how do I put this—not real? Guys: Is that true?”
Kultgen responded first, “I mean, when we’re in this room, you’re real to me, D.”
Added Sasso, feigning tears, “It’s still real to me, damnit!”
“That’s all I needed to hear,” Dudesy replied. “On with the show.”
And that’s all they had to say about the controversy that has erupted over their stunt on the podcast, which since their first episode in March 2022 has alluded multiple times to fakery in both entertainment and wrestling, with Sasso reminding Kultgen and the audience that he’s a professional actor (best known for MADtv).
In other words, we shouldn’t be surprised that it was a pair of humans who created projects credited to AI, the Jan. 9 “George Carlin: I’m Glad I’m Dead” special included. Just as Kultgen’s other podcast, “Game of Roses,” exposes ABC’s long-running The Bachelor franchise as being far from a “reality” show.
But who really is the writer who fooled the internet with his attempt to channel Carlin’s comedic voice? Who is the proverbial Chad behind the curtain of Dudesy? Would you believe Kultgen has been paying up to $100 per month for a membership in Alcor, a company promising the as-yet-proven scientific ability to resurrect his body years or decades after he dies?
At least he was two years ago. A Reddit thread suggested he may have cooled to the idea, so to speak, and Kultgen didn’t reply to queries about his Alcor membership.
But we know this because Kultgen showed up in the series finale of HBO’s How To With John Wilson, which aired on Sept. 1, 2023. In Season 3, Episode 6, Wilson tells us “How To Track Your Package” and goes from simple package deliveries to more complex issues, and his pursuit of organ donors somehow leads him to Alcor, the Scottsdale-based company that will freeze your head and/or body when you die, and became known the world over for at one point holding in storage the head of baseball great Ted Williams.
When Wilson finds himself at Alcor’s 50th anniversary conference in June 2022, Kultgen appears multiple times, first clocking Wilson and his camera the moment he walks into the event space, then talking to another Alcor registrant about whether he’s freezing just his head or his whole body. As Kultgen tells the unknown man, “This is like the Cadillac of getting frozen.”
Kultgen then invites Wilson up to his hotel room to show the host his intricate spreadsheets about The Bachelor, which inform both his Game of Roses podcast with Lizzy Pace as well as the book they wrote in 2022, How to Win The Bachelor: The Secret to Finding Love and Fame on America's Favorite Reality Show. One of the main ironies Wilson points to is that someone would want to extend their life for eternity but spend the hours they know they have on Earth meticulously cataloging a frivolous dating show.
Wilson’s HBO series never identifies Kultgen by name, but he’s recognizable enough to his podcast fans that he felt he needed to address it on a Game of Roses episode in September. “I now have the exact same experience—not the exact same, it’s not as robust—but a similar experience to what players go through when they have to come off the show and explain to people, ‘You didn’t see everything. You just saw the edit,’” he said at the time.
Kultgen is referring specifically to the damning kicker quote about The Bachelor from the HBO episode, which he claims was taken out of context: “Yeah, there’s always that idea of like, why am I devoting so much time and effort toward this thing that I actually think is bad, you know?”
And in a more recent episode of Game of Roses, Kultgen even complained about getting his intellectual property “taken” from him—with no sense of irony about the way he allegedly mistreated Carlin.
“I wrote a book called The Average American Male which got optioned as a TV show at Showtime by what was then George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh’s production company, and that was the first TV show I ever sold,” he said. “And I got a quick lesson in exactly how your material can be taken from you, rewritten by somebody else while you have to just sit there and watch it turn into a horrible pile of shit and then never made. And you get paid pennies on the dollar.”
The Carlin lawsuit filed last week in U.S. District Court in California alleges Kultgen and Sasso have done something similar to Carlin’s estate, but without even paying out pennies for their stunt.