October 23, 2015

Dead comedians on tour: Andy Kaufman and Redd Foxx, the holograms.

Alki David, the billionaire behind Hologram USA made the announcement and said his company is "working with other estates of famous funny guys and funny girls, these just happened to be amenable estates who see the vision."
Mr. David said that the hologram shows... say, Andy Kaufman lip-syncing the “Mighty Mouse” theme on... “Saturday Night Live”....

Noting that Malcolm X had known Foxx before his stand-up fame and described him as “the funniest dishwasher on this earth,” Mr. David said, “We’re going to have a scene with Malcolm X. We’re going to have various notable names featuring in his story.”...

The company is preparing holographic versions of Billie Holiday to perform at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, and of Whitney Houston for a worldwide concert tour next year..... “There are an awful lot of dead celebrities,” [David] said. “There are an awful lot of dead people with a lot of followers. The fresher the memory, the bigger the star.”...
Bonus red meat for pedants: The director of the licensing agency said that the dead celebrities "literally come back from the dead."

I'm hesitating to publish this because it's pretty obvious that David wants to provoke those who find this kind of entertainment disgusting. It's a virality strategy, and it gets out the word for the kind of people who do think it's cool to have the illusion of somebody they love come back from the dead (and don't give a damn about the right and wrong uses of "literally").

So I'm going to distance myself. Oh, the absurdity of "amenable estates who see the vision" and the sad comic deafness of the phrase "famous funny guys and funny girls." They're dead. They're not funny at all. And Malcolm X isn't funny dead or alive.

11 comments:

David said...

Malcom X was funny at least once. The dishwasher line is great.

William said...

If they can get the Gershwin hologram to write some new songs for the Billie Holiday hologram, it would definitely be worth attending.

Lyssa said...

This is essentially just a fancified recording of old performances, right? I don't see why a person would be disgusted by it or find it exploitative, any more than playing old videos of the person would be so. Not sure why one would want to spend money for it, but whatever. I could see some appeal of seeing the act with an audience rather than alone in your living room, I guess. As long as the rights are secured, what's the problem?

Interesting aside - what if people started using this technology for recordings where rights aren't an issue (i.e., newsworthy events involving dead politicians)? That could be interesting. You could create a holographic Hitler performing his speeches, just to have crowds gather around and jeer "at" him.

Ann Althouse said...

"This is essentially just a fancified recording of old performances, right? I don't see why a person would be disgusted by it or find it exploitative, any more than playing old videos of the person would be so."

True, but do you agree that many people are, in fact, disgusted and view it as exploitative? It's discussed in the article.

Ann Althouse said...

"Disgust" is my word, but from the article: "At worst, the holograms risk seeming like crass exploitation of dead performers unable to decide for themselves how their work and likenesses are used. Samantha Chang, the director of licensing at CMG Worldwide, the licensing agency that represented the Andy Kaufman and Redd Foxx estates in the Hologram USA deal, acknowledged that the idea behind such projects can be potentially off-putting. “You can now be in multiple places at once, and literally come back from the dead,” Ms. Chang wrote in response to email questions. “This idea can be uncomfortable for some....”"

Maybe it's the idea of reanimating a corpse or making the body of person do things that the person has no will to choose to do... sort of like the sexual preference for having a sex partner with a blotted out brain, Bill Cosby/Jeffrey Dahmer style. You're getting excited by the body that is seemingly real, but you know there is no consciousness in there.

Ann Althouse said...

" Had Jeffrey Dahmer succeeded in his plans to make a sex zombie of one of his victims, he would have stopped killing-``unless he wanted two zombies,`` a prosecution psychiatrist testified ..."

Wilbur said...

The Andy Kaufman "Mighty Mouse" bit was, at the time, the most bizarre and funniest thing I'd ever seen.

Except for The Banana Man. I'd like to see them bring him back in a hologram.

Anonymous said...

Catalina Island(near me)is working on a hologram night club in the old opera house in which you can have drinks with Marilyn Monroe or whomever. It sounds fun.

Jack Wayne said...

What this portends is a bonanza for famous peoples families who still have the rights to the name. Eventually Congress will grant infinite time on ownership. Elvis will be raking in the money in the year 2525. I expect it is the end of public domain.

Quaestor said...

They're dead. They're not funny at all. And Malcolm X isn't funny dead or alive.

Red Foxx wasn't funny even when he was alive. In middle school I had a friend whose father had a collection of "dirty" comedy albums, which he hid in his garage, so the father thought. Occasionally when my friend was home alone he'd invite us over to listen to one or two. Most of those LP's were Red Foxx routines recorded live at some Harlem night club I suppose. Some of the others were recordings of a shriveled, toothless crone called Moms Mabley. Both of these so-called comics were unfunny and nasty as hell. The only "dirty" record that made me laugh was a Richard Prior LP made before he had a movie career.

Ann Althouse said...

My father had these albums. I sometimes overheard them when he played them late at night and I wasn't asleep. For some reason I remember one and only one joke. A man wanted buy a bra for his wife. The salesperson was trying to figure out the bra size by asking a series of questions based on comparisons to grapefruits, apples, lemons, and finally eggs. The man answered no to every question he heard eggs. That got a yes with a qualification: fried eggs.