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Legendary Bassist Carol Kaye Hated Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Homage: ‘I Am Not a Cartoon’

Bassist Carol Kaye in April 1966 in Los Angeles Photo: Jasper Dailey/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

You might assume having a part based on your life flesh out the world of a critically acclaimed period piece might be flattering, but legendary Wrecking Crew bassist Carol Kaye wants no part of it, period. Some viewers of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s third season might not have caught that Liza Weil’s bassist Carole Keene was pretty clearly based on the real-life prolific session musician, who can be heard on songs like the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations” and Tina Turner’s “River Deep Mountain High,” among dozens of others. However, when asked about the show’s homage to her legacy as a woman excelling in the largely male-dominated music industry, Kaye was clear: She did not care for it one bit.

“It’s a Hollywood, silly fluff piece [that has] nothing to do with me or my history. They took a few things out of my book and created a character that’s not even me at all,” Kaye told the New York Post this week. “A lot of people are saying, ‘That must be you. I love it!’ But I am not a cartoon — and my life is not a joke. Nobody contacted me. I didn’t know a thing about it. I thought that was pretty bad — kind of like slander.”

As Variety points out, the fact Kaye might have a problem with an unauthorized depiction of herself isn’t surprising; she also took issue with the 2008 documentary The Wrecking Crew, which she thought was unfairly biased toward drummer Hal Blaine. Blaine later publicly denigrated Kaye’s body of work after the fact.

“You have to understand, it’s not easy when you are older and it has nothing to do with you — but people think it is you,” concluded Kaye. “Don’t get me wrong, I have a sense of humor … but I am a professional. This is like a putdown to me.”

Bassist Carol Kaye Hated Maisel Homage: ‘I Am Not a Cartoon’