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Comedian Gilbert Gottfried Dies April 12

Published by: Carolyn Brooks Fleming on Apr 12, 2022.

Gilbert Gottfried, the stand-up comedian famous for his blue humor, died on April 12, 2022. He was 67.

Gottfried was born in Brooklyn, New York, and began honing his craft as a stand-up comedian at the early age of 15. About his education, he said, “I was the class podiatrist. I never made it to class clown.”

Some fans may remember his early work as a cast member on “Saturday Night Live,” from 1980 to 1981. He appeared in many comedic movies, including “Beverly Hills Cop II,” “Problem Child,” and “Look Who’s Talking II.” He was profiled in the documentary “Gilbert.” Additionally, his unique voice was featured in “Aladdin” as the macaw Iago.

He provided the voice for Aflac’s duck mascot in commercials until he was fired due to jokes he made about the 2011 tsunami in Japan. He also invited criticism by joking about the September 11 attacks and actor Paul Reubens’ arrest. Gottfried once commented, “I have always felt comedy and tragedy are roommates.”

He is best remembered amongst his comedian bretheren for his rendition of the decades-old aristocrasts joke. It is more of an experience than a joke, in reality, but Gottfried’s version stands out from all others—see the documentary “The Aristocrats,” by Penn Jillette and Paul Provenza (if you’re not easily offended).

Gottfried was known for being tight with a dollar, as he proved during his appearance on ABC’s “Wife Swap” in 2013. Older readers will appreciate Gottfried’s joke that “I’d make Jack Benny look like a philanthropist.”

In recent years, Gottfried co-hosted a podcast, “Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast!,” with co-host Frank Santopadre.

Gilbert Gottfried reportedly died from Recurrent Ventricular Tachycardia due to Myotonic Dystrophy type II. He is survived by his wife and two children.

Learn more about him in his own words.

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SOURCES

Andrew, Scottie. “Gilbert Gottfried, comedian and actor, has died.” CNN, April 12, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/04/12/entertainment/gilbert-gottfried-death/index.html.

DeBellis, John. “An Interview with Gilbert Gottfried.” Huffpost, May 25, 2011, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/an-interview-with-gilbert_b_162081.

Hamedy, Saba. “Gilbert Gottfried, iconic comedian, dies at 67 after long illness.” NBC News, April 12, 2022, https://www.nbcnews.com/pop-culture/celebrity/gilbert-gottfried-iconic-comedian-dies-67-long-illness-rcna24111.

Lewis, Jim. “The Aristocrats.” Slate, July 29, 2005, https://slate.com/culture/2005/07/the-aristocrats-funny-dirty-joke.html.

Moreau, Jordan. “Gilbert Gottfried, Comedian and ‘Aladdin’ Star, Dies at 67.” Variety, April 12, 2022, https://variety.com/2022/film/news/gilbert-gottfried-dead-dies-comedian-aladdin-1235231387/.

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