Tea’s Weird Week: Eternal Slap Bass of the AI Seinfeld Mind [Updated: Damn it, Larry!]
“Wow, can you believe how much time has gone by?” A blocky, pixelated character named “Yvonne” says, followed by a staccato burst of canned laughter on February 3, 2023 at 11:22am CST. But in Yvonne’s world, time does not have meaning.
Imagine being able to watch your favorite program anytime you wanted, 24/7– always on and always new content. That’s what happened, in a way, when a Seinfeld inspired show called Nothing, Forever launched on Twitch on December 14, 2022. Since then, Nothing, Forever has run non-stop and will continue on…well, theoretically, until the world ends.
The show features Jerry …oops, sorry, Larry Feinberg who shares scenes with his friends Fred Kastopolous and Yvonne Torres, and his eccentric neighbor Zoltan Kakler. The infinite sitcom scrolls through Larry’s apartment, where the characters exchange banter and jokes, Larry onstage at the mic in a comedy club, and an exterior shot of Larry’s apartment and an AI generator TV guide screen that breaks the scenes up. AI determines how long a scene is and which characters are in it. A laugh track randomly cuts in, adding to the confusion. The chat room scrolling down the side seems to be mostly AI generated as well.
A lot of the scenes focus on Larry and friends talking about Larry’s comedy career, new pets, and new restaurants. In one scene, Larry and Fred discuss the mayor’s plan to rename New York “Schnitzelville” because of a new restaurant that opened down the street (as seen Feb. 3, 2023, 11:20am CST). It was kind of funny in a slightly off sort of way.
I don’t know why, but there is something unsettling about this. Just the thought of an eternal Seinfeld world, never sleeping, never blinking, just constantly rolling on with non-sequitor jokes and digital canned laughter. Ah well, let me leave you with a joke from the great AI comedian, Larry Feinberg, February 3, 2023, 8:22PM CST:
“Why do elephants paint their toenails different colors? So they can hide in a package of Skittles.” (Laughter)
You can watch for a minute, an hour, or maybe the rest of your life here: twitch.tv/watchmeforever
UPDATE: Damn it, Larry! As reported by the AV Club on Feb. 6, Twitch suspended Nothing, Forever for two weeks after our AI comedian Larry talked about trying out some transphobic, homophobic material. I mean I’d expect that from his co-star, Zoltan Kakler, but et tu, Larry? Well, I suppose AI is a reflection of our own intelligence, which is not something to bank on. You can read the AV article here: www.avclub.com/nothing-forever-jerry-seinfeld-ai-openai-gpt3-1850077760
2023 Read List
I’m keeping track of all the books I’m reading this year as a footnote to this column. I’m actually a pretty slow reader, but after a crazy busy fall and year end, I realized how important it is to set aside reading time every day. Here’s what I started with this year.
1.) Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond. I’ve wanted to read this for years and finally got around to it. A devastating, important book. It fully deserves the many awards and honors it won. Read it. I got my copy from Lion’s Tooth.
2.) Ghost Story by Peter Straub. In October, my colleague Carmella D’ Acquisto wrote a piece for Milwaukee Magazine’s website, asking local authors and booksellers for “Halloween reads.” I told Carmella, in part:
I’ve really wanted to read more work by Robert Bloch (who wrote Psycho) and Peter Straub (who co-wrote The Talisman with Stephen King, among many other works). Both of those horror authors spent a formative part of their life in Milwaukee, and I think we should celebrate more works by Milwaukee authors.
I don’t like to talk outta both sides of my face, so I am making an effort to read more works by Wisconsin authors, historical and contemporary. I enjoyed this one and will pick up another Straub book in the future. I got this one from the library.
Upcoming appearance: I’ll be tabling at the Punk Rock Rummage Sale on Saturday, February 11, 11am-4pm at Promises (538 W. National Ave.) with my books and strange swag. Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1388237528250313
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My latest books are:
Brady Street Pharmacy: Stories and Sketches (2021, Vegetarian Alcoholic Press)
American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness (2020, Feral House)