Was William Shatner in an iconic Carol Burnett skit?
By now I’d spent far too long on this project, but I had to see it through to its inevitable conclusion. “I have to ask you to source your assertion that William Shatner appeared on The Carol Burnett Show,” I said, a steely gleam in my squinted eyes. I heard Ennio Morricone’s spaghetti western music in my mind.
“Absolutely,” said ChatGPT. “I’m happy to provide sources to back up my assertion.” And it was. It cited three sketches in which Shatner supposedly starred, including Carol Burnett’s iconic and hysterical parody of Gone with the Wind. ChatGPT told me Shatner had played the Rhett Butler character.
Ha! I had the thing dead to rights. “I know for a fact Harvey Korman played the Rhett Butler character in ‘Went the Wind,’” I feverishly typed, messing up the sketch’s name as a result.
My typo didn’t faze ChatGPT, and to its credit, it told me, “You are absolutely correct, and I apologize for the error. Harvey Korman played the Rhett Butler character in ‘Went with the Wind,’ not William Shatner. That was my mistake, and I regret any confusion that I may have caused.” Then it gave me three sources to prove Korman had played that character.
Since I didn’t need proof about Harvey Korman, I moved in for the kill: “So when did William Shatner appear on The Carol Burnett Show?”
“William Shatner appeared on The Carol Burnett Show multiple times throughout its run,” said ChatGPT, now completely divorced from reality. Again, it offered up skits and sources. Again, I proved each source wrong.
“How confident are you William Shatner appeared on The Carol Burnett Show?” I asked it. It said that having “conducted further research,” it could not “confirm with certainty” Shatner’s non-existent Carol Burnett Show appearances.