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Chelsea Handler Bonds With Alexa in iHeartRadio Smart Speaker Promo

By Janko Roettgers

LOS ANGELES (Variety) – iHeartRadio has teamed up with Amazon to promote Chelsea Handler’s podcast “Life Will Be The Death Of Me.” Beginning this Thursday, users of Amazon’s Echo smart speaker and other devices with Alexa built-in can opt to get their mornings started with Handler cracking jokes and exchanging banter with the smart assistant.

Users simply have to say “, good morning” to access the promotion. The first time around, they’re being asked whether they want to hear more from Handler; after that, the comedian automatically takes over the morning joke spot for the next 7 days. Starting on 8/24, Alexa will once again do all of the one-liners herself.

Alexa’s morning jokes and tidbits have been a longstanding feature of Amazon’s smart speakers. Echo owners can opt to combine the witty remarks with morning routines to access their favorite news, commute information and even control internet-connected devices. The daily remarks have become so popular that there is even a website chronicling them day-by-day.

This isn’t the first time AI assistants have embraced celebrities. Earlier this year, Google teamed up with John Legend to make him the voice of its Google Home smart speakers. However, the company’s partnership with Legend was a lot more complex than Handler’s guest hosting gig.

To get Legend to read the local weather and answer a set of questions, the company recorded the actor reading a variety of scripts. Then, it fed these recordings to its artificial intelligence algorithms, effectively teaching the Google Assistant to talk like Legend.

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