Watch Sassy Justice, the New Deepfake Satire Show Created by the Makers of South Park

If any cul­tur­al, polit­i­cal, or tech­no­log­i­cal phe­nom­e­non of the past cou­ple of decades has­n’t been lam­pooned by South Park, it prob­a­bly did­n’t hap­pen. But the 21st cen­tu­ry has brought forth so much non­sense that even Trey Park­er and Matt Stone, cre­ators of that at once crude and mul­ti­di­men­sion­al­ly satir­i­cal car­toon show, have had to expand into fea­ture films and even onto Broad­way to ridicule it all. The lat­est project takes the hum­bler but unde­ni­ably more rel­e­vant form of a Youtube series, and one mod­eled on the form of ultra-local tele­vi­sion news. Sassy Jus­tice comes host­ed by anchor Fred Sassy, a flam­boy­ant “con­sumer advo­cate” for the peo­ple of Cheyenne, Wyoming — and one pos­sessed, come to think of it, of an odd­ly famil­iar face.

Fred Sassy is based on Sassy Trump, a cre­ation of voice actor Peter Ser­afi­now­icz. Despite his for­mi­da­ble skills as an impres­sion­ist, the trou­ble Ser­afi­now­icz had nail­ing the sound and man­ner of the cur­rent U.S. Pres­i­dent gave him the idea of dub­bing over real footage of the man with delib­er­ate­ly invent­ed char­ac­ter voic­es. This led to an inter­est in deep­fakes, videos cre­at­ed using dig­i­tal like­ness­es of real peo­ple with­out their actu­al par­tic­i­pa­tion.

The increas­ing­ly con­vinc­ing look of these pro­duc­tions once had a lot of peo­ple spooked, as you’ll recall if you can cast your mind back to 2019. Deep­fakes thus made per­fect sub­ject mat­ter for a Park­er-Stone project, but not long after they began col­lab­o­rat­ing with Ser­afi­now­icz on a deep­fake-sat­u­rat­ed Fred Sassy movie, the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic put an end to pro­duc­tion. From the ash­es of that project ris­es Sassy Jus­tice, which pre­miered last month.

This first episode (with a clip playlist here) also pro­vides a glimpse of the sure­ly enor­mous all-deep­fake cast to come. Uncan­ny ver­sions of Al Gore, Mark Zucker­berg (now a dial­y­sis-cen­ter mag­nate), and Julie Andrews (as com­put­er tech­ni­cian “Lou Xiang,” a ref­er­ence that if you get, you get) all make appear­ances, as do those of White House reg­u­lars Jared Kush­n­er, Ivan­ka Trump, and even Don­ald Trump, on whose voice Ser­afi­now­icz seems to have made progress. But “it’s impos­si­ble for a human to accu­rate­ly mim­ic some­one else’s voice to 100 per­cent,” as Sassy is assured by a Zoom inter­vie­wee, the oft-imi­tat­ed actor Michael Caine — or is it? Less able than ever to tell real from the fake, let alone the deep­fake, “we’re all going to have to trust our gut, that inner voice,” as Sassy advis­es in the episode’s final seg­ment. “It’s all we have now.” But then, all effec­tive satire is a lit­tle fright­en­ing.

via MIT Tech­nol­o­gy Review

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Zen Wis­dom of Alan Watts Ani­mat­ed by the Cre­ators of South Park, Trey Park­er and Matt Stone

Amer­i­can His­to­ry: An Off-Kil­ter 1992 Stu­dent Film from South Park Cre­ator Trey Park­er

Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence Brings to Life Fig­ures from 7 Famous Paint­ings: The Mona Lisa, Birth of Venus & More

Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence Cre­ates Real­is­tic Pho­tos of Peo­ple, None of Whom Actu­al­ly Exist

Long Before Pho­to­shop, the Sovi­ets Mas­tered the Art of Eras­ing Peo­ple from Pho­tographs — and His­to­ry Too

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall, on Face­book, or on Insta­gram.

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Comments (3)
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  • smellybutton says:

    It’s ter­ri­ble. it’s not even vague­ly fun­ny.

  • makedoanmend says:

    Def­i­nite­ly cov­er the top­i­cal issues of our times by mim­ic­k­ing the tac­tics used by the main-stream-media on the lib-cons polit­i­cal spec­trum. But I can imag­ine that the denizens of Trump­is­tan will be par­tic­u­lar­ly aggriev­ed at this moment in time by the pro­gram. They don’t seem to be amused by any­thing right now. It’s hilar­i­ous.

    I sus­pect Biden and the mil­que­toast dems will be in the fir­ing line next year.

    I’m not par­tic­u­lar­ly amused by the clip, but I was­n’t I was­n’t amused by South Park either. To each their own I sup­pose.

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