Variety and other sources have just posted the very sad news that Gilbert Gottfried (b. 1955) has passed away at the age of 67 following a long illness. What the hell is going on, lately? Norm MacDonald, Bob Saget, Louie Anderson — it’s like the Hand of God is trying to wipe out all the comedians of that generation.
I have been a Gottfried fan for over 40 years, ever since the ill-fated Season Six of SNL, which I wrote about here. Throughout the ’80s he was one of the shining lights of the stand-up Renaissance, with that unmistakable voice and squint, the original Aflac Duck, the parrot in Disney’s Aladdin, and the ORIGINAL cancelled comedian (for a joke he made in the wake of September 11).
I was so very thrilled when my work was mentioned on Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast in recent times. Gottfried was a huge show biz buff — and as far as I know the first to do an impression of the elderly, failing Groucho Marx. Gottfried was not about being tasteful, which is one of the reasons Howard Stern had him on so often as a regular. Gottfried had been doing stand-up professionally since he was 15 years old. I recently listened to a great ten year old episode of WTF with Marc Maron wherein he talked about his early years. I LOVE the way he laughed at himself. I have a brother who does that; I find it an extremely loveable trait.
I was about to remark that I hope this isn’t a prank, but actually I really hope that it is. I’m especially bummed because I wanted to meet the guy some day!