Very few stand-up comedians came close to Gilbert Gottfried's rapid-fire deliveries. The raspy-voiced performer first gained attention on the New York comedy scene before making the leap into television and film. Starting with his improvised scene as a kooky accountant in the smash comedy "Beverly Hills Cop II" (1987), Gottfried became a favorite to play annoying, wisecracking characters on television shows and in feature films like "Problem Child" (1990) or the animated classic Disney's "Aladdin" (1992), in which he stole scenes left and right as an obnoxious parrot. While some viewers remembered him for his family-friendly projects, Gottfried never abandoned the risqué, over-the-top stand-up comedy that made him a star, especially when he assailed celebrities during infamous New York Friar's Club roasts. It was the same unflinchingly funny, uncensored jokes that served as a reminder of the unpredictability that can only emerge from truly original performers.
Gilbert Gottfried was born on Feb. 28, 1955 in Brooklyn, NY. He started doing stand-up comedy at age 15, doing open mike nights and making the rounds at New York City clubs where, after only a few short years, he became known as "the comedian's comedian." When he performed his stand-up, Gottfried kept his eyes squinted out of nervousness, a trait he never outgrew and which would become his trademark. In 1980, Gottfried joined the cast of "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975- ), but he received barely any airtime. The exposure, however, led to guest appearances on popular shows such as "The Cosby Show" (NBC, 1984-1992) and a featured role in the hit sequel "Beverly Hills Cop II," where his improvised scene as an odd accountant reportedly stole the entire movie, much like Bronson Pinchot had done in the original film. That role established his reputation as "the king of quirky roles" in films and on television. Some of his more memorable parts at that time included a maniacal "shock jock" in "The Adventures of Ford Fairlane" (1990), an annoying adoption agent in "Problem Child," and many other similar off-the-wall characters in "Problem Child 2" (1991) and "Look Who's Talking Too" (1990).
By the 1990s, he began lending his loud, raspy voice to animated characters on television shows and in movies, including "The Fairly OddParents" (Nickelodeon, 2001- ) as a crazy dentist, "The Ren & Stimpy Show" (MTV, 1991-98) as an elf, "Doctor Dolittle" (1998) as a compulsive parrot, and most famously, the blockbuster Disney comedy "Aladdin" (1992). In the latter, Gottfried portrayed Lago, a mocking, foul-mouthed parrot with squinted eyes and bared teeth, who even managed to steal scenes from the improvisational kind, Robin Williams as the Genie. During this time, Gottfried also hosted the Saturday edition of the late night movie series "USA: Up All Night" (USA Network, 1986-1998), where he provided biting commentary about the featured films as well as sour grapes observations on various Hollywood and New York City movie sets and tourist attractions. Aside from his TV and film work, Gottfried's distinctively high-pitched drone also landed him numerous voiceover commercial projects, including for Pop Tart as the Toaster, Microsoft as the office assistant Clippy, and the insurance company AFLAC as the in-your-face duck mascot.
Unbeknownst to parents whose kiddies watched "Aladdin" on a loop, Gottfried was also notorious for his raunchy, X-rated stand-up routine, racial parodies, and spot-on impersonations of comedians Jerry Seinfeld, Andrew Dice Clay, and an older Groucho Marx. Not surprisingly, one of his biggest fans was real-life shock jock Howard Stern, who had Gottfried on his radio show more times than any other celebrity. The New York Friars Club also relied on Gottfried's rapid-fire zingers and off-color jokes when it held its annual celebrity roasts, which began airing on Comedy Central from 1998 to 2002. Gottfried delivered one of his most talked-about jokes on "Comedy Central Presents: The N.Y. Friars Club Roast of Hugh Hefner" (Comedy Central, 2001), which aired just three weeks after the September 11 attacks. His monologue started off with a joke that he intended to catch a plane, but that he "couldn't get a direct flight because they said they have to connect with the Empire State Building first." The audience and the other celebrity roasters were at first shocked by Gottfried's remarks, but in typical Gottfried fashion, he won them over by saying that he thought their gasps and protests were about the speed of his joke
In the aftermath of his inappropriateness, Gottfried was invited back to sit on the panel for the network's roasts of other celebrities like Chevy Chase in 2002, Jeff Foxworthy in 2005, and Joan Rivers in 2009 - the latter of which brought Gottfried some of his biggest laughs as he closed the show with his graphic descriptions of sex with Rivers. Gottfried incited controversy when he Tweeted via Twitter a joke some considered ill-timed, following the prescription drug overdose death only hours before of his Comedy Central panelmate, comic Greg Giraldo, which stated: "If Greg Giraldo is cremated, will that be the 'Greg Giraldo Roast'?" Once again in March 2011, Gottfried went a step further, seemingly mocking an entire race of people by making a series of offensive Twitter jokes mocking the victims of the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Because of his actions, Gottfried was fired as the voice of AFLAC's iconic duck. Following the public outrage, he issued an apology via Twitter and explained that he meant no disrespect to the victims and their families, while friends and fellow comedians like Joan Rivers and Howard Stern leaped to his defense, stating AFLAC knew who they were signing when they got onboard with Gottfried in the first place.
Cast (Feature Film)
Music (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Special Thanks (Special)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Joined the cast of "Saturday Night Live" (NBC)
Appeared as a regular in the failed late-night talkshow "Thicke of the Night"
Made feature acting debut in "Bad Medicine"
Hosted the Saturday edition of "USA Up All Night"
Featured as Mr. Peabody in "Problem Child"
Appeared in a recurring role on "Night Court" (NBC)
Returned as Mr. Peabody for "Problem Child 2"
Received greatest exposure to date providing the voice of Lago in "Aladdin"
Appeared in the short-lived CBS series "The Amazing Live Sea Monkeys"
Reprised role as Mr. Peabody for the animated series "Problem Child" (USA Network)
Provided the voice of Lago for the children's animated series "Aladdin" (CBS)
Made his TV-movie debut in "Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas" (NBC)
First of several appearances on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" (NBC)
Lent his voice to Mr Mxyzptlk in "Superman: The Animated Series" (The WB)
Appeared as a semi-regular in the updated version of "Hollywood Squares"
Voiced the duck in the AFLAC commercials; was fired after he made jokes on his Twitter account in reference to the 2011 earthquake disaster in Japan
Voiced a crazed dentist, Dr. Bender and his son Wendell on the animated show "The Fairly OddParents" (Nickelodeon)
Was the voice of Digit in the math-mystery cartoon "Cyberchase" on PBS Kids GO!
Featured alongside other comedians in the documentary "The Aristocrats"