Gilbert Jeremy Gottfried (born February 28, 1955 in Brooklyn, New York), Everybody's favorite squinty-eyed, grating-voiced, pint-sized, obnoxious, hilarious stand-up comic and voice actor. Known as Iago in the Aladdin franchise (and by extension, the Kingdom Hearts series and House of Mouse), Igor Peabody in the Problem Child movies, Mr. Mxyzptlk in Superman: The Animated Series (a role he would later reprise in LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, Lego DC Super-Villains, and Justice League Action), Jerry the Bellybutton Elf from The Ren & Stimpy Show, Art De Salvo from Duckman, a troll from Dilbert, deranged dentist Dr. Bender and his son, Wendell, from a few episodes of The Fairly OddParents, Patrick Swayze and Jerry Seinfeld from Clerks: The Animated Series, Santa Claus from The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Digit from Cyberchase, monster toy Tickle Me Psycho on Robotomy, the Aflac duck, and years of comedy routines.
Gottfried was also a cast member on the NBC sketch show Saturday Night Live... during its widely-panned sixth season (1980-1981; the first season after Lorne Michaels and the remnants of the original "Not Ready For Primetime" cast left the show due to creative exhaustion). During those years, Gottfried had a full head of curly black hair, rarely if ever squinted, and actually had an indoor voice (though it did escalate into a No Indoor Voice from time-to-time. Still, if you ever watch a Jean Doumanian-era SNL sketch, you'll be shocked to find that, once upon a time, Gilbert Gottfried was more-or-less soft-spoken). Gottfried only had one recurring character (Leo Waxman, wife of Denny Dillon's Pinky Waxman, a Jewish couple who host a talk show called What's It All About)note and two celebrity impressions: controversial film director Roman Polanski, and David A. Stockman (director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan).
Gottfried caught some heat while speaking at a roast soon after 9/11 and making an Empire State Building joke that popularized finding insensitive jokes about current events "too soon". He then saved himself by doing a take on The Aristocrats that opens up the documentary of the same name. He has been fired by Aflac for making jokes about the 2011 Japanese earthquake on his Twitter, showing that he has no fear of offensive jokes, nor enough sense to keep from making light of Japan's national crisis while also representing Japan's top insurer. He has since responded to this by apologizing after virtually every joke. He's also shown sincerety for the loss of a couple of comedians, as shown in this article mourning the death of Robin Williams.
He co-hosts a Podcast, Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Colossal Podcast with his friend Frank Santopadre, where they interview old movie, television, music, and stand-up comedy stars. He even played a character in one episode of The Angry Video Game Nerd.
Has done a Dramatic Reading of Fifty Shades of Grey. He also does dramatic readings of UK statute law for the UK broadcast of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver every time the show uses a clip of House of Commons debate (footage of which cannot be broadcast for comedic purposes in the United Kingdom, so Gottfried's reading is an intentionally bad substitute for the British market). Also, according to the same show, Jared Kushner sounds suspiciously like Gottfried. ("'Wait, you just recorded Gilbert Gottfried over him!' Well, you can never know!")
Tropes associated with this actor
- Added Alliterative Appeal: His Georgie Jessel joke.
- Alliterative Name: Gilbert Gottfried.
- Black Comedy: His comedy trademark. It has gotten him into trouble repeatedly.
- The Cameo: Makes a surprise appearance in Sharknado: The 4th Awakens as a storm chaser.
- Don't Explain the Joke: He often defies this rule for the sake of comedy. His rendering of The Aristocrats is a prime example. He'd also sometimes play a character who would criticise his regular absurdist comedy style, just by putting on a pair of glasses and donning a goofy voice.
- Early Installment Weirdness: How he looked and sounded when he was a cast member on Saturday Night Live is entirely different than how he looks and sounds now. As mentioned above, Gottfried once had a full head of hair, had his eyes open, and had a fairly soft-spoken voice.
- Eyes Always Shut: He initially did this to get over stage fright. Now he feels uncomfortable keeping them fully open.
- Horror Host: He hosted the USA Up All Night midnight movies from 1989 to 1998.
- Long List: Demonstrated in his "Land of the Three-Named People" bit.
- The Napoleon: 5'5'' (165 cm) and loud and shrieky to match.
- No Indoor Voice: His classic comedic persona involves speaking in a loud and grating voice. His natural speaking voice is actually calm and subdued, as shown here.
- Self-Deprecation: Occurs every now and then on badly-received jokes (for instance, on The Roast of Roseanne Barr he compared her to a "moo-nami", and then added about "dumb people who make jokes out of 'moo-namis' that cost them jobs").
- "Sesame Street" Cred:
- He played the role of Jack Frost in an episode of the PBS Kids series The Noddy Shop.
- Perhaps his most notable role in a kids' show was Digit from Cyberchase, who oddly enough is a pretty naïve and kind-hearted guy.
- He also was a fire alarm in the 90's Allstate video "Be Cool About Fire Safety", which also aired as a Public Service Announcement on children's blocks such as One Saturday Morning and Kids' WB!.
- Tareme Eyes: When his eyes are open.
- Vocal Dissonance: His routine about Jerry Seinfeld doing Hamlet, because he uses a much different voice than usual.Gilbert: (doing a pretty good Jerry Seinfeld impression) To be, or not to be? I don't know whether I should be, or not! Something is rotten in Denmark!
- Yiddish as a Second Language: He's Jewish. It's a given.
- You Fool!: Said this repeatedly in an infamous episode of The Hollywood Squares.