Gilbert Gottfried (born February 28, 1955) is an American stand-up comedian, actor and voice actor. Gottfried's persona as a comedian features an exaggerated shrill voice and emphasis on crude humor. His numerous roles in film and television include voicing the parrot Iago in Disney's Aladdin, Digit in the children's cartoon/educational math-based show Cyberchase, and Kraang Subprime in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Gottfried was also the voice of the Aflac Duck until 2011.
Since 2014, Gottfried has hosted a podcast titled Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Colossal Podcast, which airs new episodes each week featuring discussions of classic movies and celebrity interviews, most often with veteran actors, comedians and comedy writers. A documentary on Gottfried's life and career was released in 2017, titled Gilbert.
Early career (1970-1998)
At age 15, Gottfried began doing amateur stand-up in New York City and, after a few years, became known around New York as "the comedian's comedian." In 1980, Saturday Night Live was being retooled with a new staff and new comedians; the producers noticed Gottfried and hired him as a cast member for season 6. Gottfried's persona in SNL sketches was very different from his later characterization: he rarely (if ever) spoke in his trademark screeching, obnoxious voice and never squinted. During his 12-episode stint, he was given very little airtime and seldom used in sketches. Gottfried recalls a low point was having to play a corpse in a sketch about a sports organist hired to play inappropriate music at a funeral. Despite this, he had one recurring character (Leo Waxman, husband to Denny Dillon's Pinky Waxman on the recurring talk show sketch, "What's It All About?") and two celebrity impersonations: David A. Stockman and controversial film director Roman Polanski.
Gottfried also played accountant Sidney Bernstein in the 1987 film Beverly Hills Cop II.
Although not a regular, he also appeared in The Amazing Live Sea Monkeys, as well as voicing the crazed dentist Dr. Bender and his son Wendell in The Fairly OddParents and the voice of Jerry the Belly Button Elf on Ren and Stimpy. Three of his most prominent roles came in 1990, 1991, and 1992, when he was cast as the adoption agent Igor Peabody in Problem Child and Problem Child 2 and the parrot Iago in Aladdin. When asked how he prepared for the role, Gottfried said, "I did the whole DeNiro thing. I moved to South America! I lived in the trees!" Gottfried reprised the role in Aladdin: The Return of Jafar, Aladdin and the King of Thieves, the television series and various related media, such as Kingdom Hearts and House of Mouse. Gottfried also voiced Berkely Beetle in 1994's Thumbelina.
In 1996, he starred as a talking smoke detector, in "Be Cool about Fire Safety," a short fire safety video for younger audiences.
Gottfried was the host of the Saturday edition of USA Up All Night for its entire run from 1989 to 1998.
Voice acting, television and films (1999-present)
On the most recent version of Hollywood Squares, Gottfried was a regular guest. On one particular episode, which aired on October 1, 1999, he was the last square on the board for a five-square win, but both contestants repeatedly got his answers wrong, prompting Gottfried to yell "YOU FOOL!" with every incorrect response. It took seven tries before a contestant finally correctly agreed with him, specifically on a question of "smog" being a combination of smoke and fog.
Gottfried has provided the voice of the duck in the Aflac commercials and Digit in Cyberchase, as well as Mister Mxyzptlk in Superman: The Animated Series. He also voiced a nasty wisecracking criminal genius named Nick-Nack in two episodes of Superboy (he also co-wrote an issue of Superboy: The Comic Book, which featured Nick-Nack's origin). On The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Gottfried has made regular appearances.
In 2004, Comedy Central featured Gottfried's stand-up material for Shorties Watchin' Shorties. Gottfried was part of an online advertising campaign for Microsoft's Office XP software, showing, in a series of Flash-animated cartoons, that the Clippy office assistant would be removed. In 2006, Gottfried topped the Boston Phoenix's tongue-in-cheek list of the world's 100 Unsexiest Men. In April 2006, Gottfried performed with the University of Pennsylvania's Mask and Wig Club in their annual Intercollegiate Comedy Festival. Also in 2006, he made an appearance on the Let's Make a Deal portion of Gameshow Marathon (as a baby in a large high chair, he says "Hey Ricki, I think I need my diaper changed!"), and in the Dodge Viper in the big deal (where he tells the contestants "What were you thinking?!" because neither one picked it). He also guest-starred in The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy as Santa Claus in the one-hour Christmas Special. He voiced Rick Platypus in an episode of My Gym Partner's a Monkey entitled "That Darn Platypus".
He appeared as Peter's horse in an episode of Family Guy entitled "Boys Do Cry" (in which Peter Griffin is enthused to learn that Gottfried is providing the horse's voice). He also guest-starred in Hannah Montana as Barny Bittmen. In January 2009, Gottfried worked again with David Faustino for an episode of Faustino's show Star-ving. In 2011, Gottfried appeared in the episode "Lost Traveler" on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as Leo Gerber, a sarcastic computer professional working for the NYPD's Technical Assistance Response Unit, which producer Warren Leight said could become a recurring character. Gottfried read a section from the hit book Fifty Shades of Grey in a June 2012 YouTube video, which was created with the aim of using Gottfried's trademark voice to make fun of the book's graphic sexual content.
In 2013, Gottfried became a member of "Team Rachael" on the second season of Food Network's Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off. In March 2013 he appeared on ABC's Celebrity Wife Swap. He swapped wives with Alan Thicke. He is also a commentator on truTV Presents: World's Dumbest....
On May 28, 2014, Sideshow Network premiered Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Colossal Podcast, an interview series where Gottfried and his co-host Frank Santopadre discuss classic movies and talk to "Hollywood legends and behind-the-scenes talents" who shaped Gottfried's childhood and influenced his comedy. His first guest was Dick Cavett.
Gottfried was the third contestant fired during the fourteenth season of the NBC reality show The Celebrity Apprentice. Gottfried's most recent role came in 2016 when he played the 'Pig Man' in a comedy/fantasy film Abnormal Attraction.
In the late 1990s, Gottfried met Dara Kravitz at a Grammy Awards party. They were married in 2007 and have two children together, daughter Lily and son Max. They reside in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. Gottfried was raised in a Jewish family, but he has commented on his podcast that he did not have a bar mitzvah. One of his sisters was Arlene Gottfried, a New York Street photographer, who died in 2017.
Danny Gallagher of the Dallas Observer wrote that "Gottfried has one of the most original formulas in the history of comedy", adding: "You don't just laugh at the punchline when Gilbert Gottfried tells a joke. You laugh at the setup. You laugh at his comments about the joke. You even laugh at the segues between his jokes." Gottfried is known for speaking in a loud and grating voice, which is not his natural speaking voice. Mark Binneli of Rolling Stone described Gottfried as a "squinting, squawking mass of contradictions", noting his status as "one of America's filthiest stand-ups and one of the most successful voice-over artists in children's entertainment." Gottfried is known for joking about recent tragedies. In a July 2012 op-ed for CNN, he wrote: "I have always felt comedy and tragedy are roommates. If you look up comedy and tragedy, you will find a very old picture of two masks. One mask is tragedy. It looks like it's crying. The other mask is comedy. It looks like it's laughing. Nowadays, we would say, 'How tasteless and insensitive. A comedy mask is laughing at a tragedy mask.'"
1991 Emmy Awards
At the 43rd Primetime Emmy Awards, Gottfried made "an endless series of masturbation jokes" in reference to Paul Reubens' arrest for masturbating in an adult movie theater. Viewers on the east coast saw the entire set live, but Fox censored the broadcast for the west coast delay. Fox issued an apology, stating that Gottfried's jokes were "irresponsible and insulting". Gottfried said that producers stated he would not be invited back, and Rolling Stone wrote that the monologue resulted in him being "blacklisted".
September 11 joke
During his monologue at a Friars Club roast of Hugh Hefner three weeks after the September 11 attacks, Gottfried joked that he had intended to catch a plane, but could not get a direct flight because "they said they have to stop at the Empire State Building first". This was one of the first public examples of 9/11 humor. Audience members responded with hisses and a cry of "Too soon!" Gottfried then abandoned his prepared remarks and launched into the venerable Aristocrats joke, winning back the audience. Penn Jillette and Paul Provenza used Gottfried's monologue as a segment in their 2005 film The Aristocrats.
Japanese tsunami jokes
In March 2011, Gottfried made a series of jokes on his Twitter account about the earthquake disaster in Japan. Aflac, which does 75% of its business in Japan, responded by dismissing Gottfried from voicing its duck mascot on March 14, 2011, and announced a casting call for his replacement as the voice of the duck. He was replaced by Daniel McKeague (who did an impression of Gottfried) on April 26, 2011.
|1984||Gallavants||Edil (voice; on his first film role)|
|1984||The House of God||Paramedic|
|1985||Bad Medicine||Tony Sandoval|
|1987||Beverly Hills Cop II||Sidney Bernstein|
|1988||Hot to Trot||Dentist|
|1989||Never on Tuesday||Lucky Larry Lupin|
|1990||The Adventures of Ford Fairlane||Johnny Crunch|
|1990||Problem Child||Mr. Peabody|
|1991||Problem Child 2||Mr. Peabody|
|1991||Horror Hall of Fame 2||Boris|
|1992||Aladdin||Iago the Parrot (voice)|
|1992||Highway to Hell||Hitler|
|1994||Aladdin: The Return of Jafar||Iago the Parrot (voice)|
|1994||Thumbelina||Berkeley Beetle (voice)|
|1994||Saved By The Bell: Wedding In Las Vegas||Burt Banner|
|1995||The Magic Gift of the Snowman||Charlatan (voice)|
|1995||Problem Child 3||Dr. Peabody|
|1996||Aladdin and the King of Thieves||Iago the Parrot (voice)|
|1996||Escape from It's a Wonderful Life||Angry man on porch|
|1996||Be Cool About Fire Safety||Seymour Smoke|
|1997||Def Jam's How to Be a Player||Tony the Doorman|
|1998||Dr. Dolittle||Compulsive Dog (voice)|
|2002||Mickey's House of Villains||Iago the Parrot (voice)|
|2004||The Amazing Floydini||Magic Store owner|
|2004||Back by Midnight||Security Guard|
|2004||Funky Monkey||Dr. Spleen|
|2004||Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events||Duck|
|2006||Farce of the Penguins||"I'm Freezing My Nuts Off" Penguin (voice)|
|2007||Disney Princess Enchanted Tales: Follow Your Dreams||Iago the Parrot (voice)|
|2008||Gilbert Gottfried: Dirty Jokes||Himself|
|2009||The Lindabury Story||Himself|
|2009||Jack and the Beanstalk||Grayson the Goose|
|2011||Miss December||The Police Officer|
|2013||Beecher Baby Bouncer||Himself|
|2014||A Million Ways to Die in the West||Abraham Lincoln|
|2016||The Comedian's Guide to Survival||Himself|
|2016||Abnormal Attraction||Pig Man|
|2016||Unbelievable!!!!||Major LeGrande Bushe|
|2016||Gender Bender||Dr. Montalto|
|2016||The Comedian||Trevor Friedmann|
|2016||Hospital Arrest||Jerome Carter|
|2017||80s Creature House||Grim Reaper|
|2017||Animal Crackers||Mario Zucchini (voice)|
|1980-1981||Saturday Night Live||Various characters||Cast member; 12 episodes|
|1983-1984||Thicke of the Night||Various characters|
|1987||The Cosby Show||Mr. Babcock||"Say Hello to a Good Buy"|
|1991||Night Court||Oscar Brown|
|1993||Problem Child||Mr. Peabody|
|1994||Living Single||Larry Friedlander|
|1994-1995||Aladdin||Iago the Parrot (voice)|
|1994||Beavis and Butthead||Gus Baker (voice)|
|The Ren & Stimpy Show||Jerry the Bellybutton Elf / Porkchop Monster (voice)|
|1994-1997||Duckman||Art DeSalvo (voice)||Recurring role|
|1994-1995||Wings||Lewis (guest role)|
|1995||Married... with Children||Himself||"Ship Happens"|
|Adventures in Wonderland||Mike McNasty||"Pie Noon"|
|Bump in the Night||Stink Bug (voice)|
|Aladdin on Ice||Iago the Parrot (voice)||TV movie|
|1995-1996||Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat||Additional Characters||Voice|
|1996||Are You Afraid of the Dark?||Roy||"The Tale of Station 109.1"|
|In the House||Mr. Comstock|
|Adventures from the Book of Virtues||Additional voices|
|Escape From It's a Wonderful Life||Angry man on porch|
|Big Bag||Himself||Troubles the Cat segment|
|1996-2000||Superman: The Animated Series||Mister Mxyzptlk (voice)|
|1997||Bear in the Big Blue House||Large Possum (voice)|
|1998||Cosby||Cellmate||"Fifteen Minutes of Fame"|
|Noddy||Jack Frost||"Jack Frost is Coming to Town"|
|1999||Dilbert||Accounting Troll (voice)||"Hunger"|
|Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist||Himself||Episodes 503 and 506|
|Timon & Pumbaa||The Woodpecker (voice)|
|2000||Clerks: The Animated Series||Jerry Seinfeld, Patrick Swayze (voices)|
|2001-2005||The Fairly OddParents||Dr. Bender / Wendel (voices)|
|2001-2003||Disney's House of Mouse||Iago the Parrot (voice)|
|2002-present||Cyberchase||Digit, Widget (voices)||Daytime Emmy
Outstanding New Approaches - Daytime Children's
Daytime Emmy Awards 2009
|2002||Son of the Beach||Noccus Johnstein||"Chip's A Goy" and Hamm Stroker's Suck My Blood|
|Celebrity Deathmatch||Himself (voice)||"Gottfried in the Arena"|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation||Comic||"Last Laugh"|
|2004||Home Movies||Tonko the Parrot (voice)|
|The Tonight Show with Jay Leno||Various sketches|
|VH1's Celebrity Paranormal Project and I Love Toys|
|Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments||Himself||Part I: 100-81|
|2005||Billy and Mandy Save Christmas||Santa Claus (voice)|
|2007||The Emperor's New School||Additional voices||Season 2, Episode 11|
|Family Guy||Peter's Horse (voice)|
|My Gym Partner's a Monkey||Rick Platypus (voice)||"That Darn Platypus"|
|2008||Hannah Montana||Barney Bitman||"(We're So Sorry) Uncle Earl"|
|VH1's I Love the New Millennium||4 Episodes|
|The Comedy Central Roast: Bob Saget||Himself|
|The Replacements||Himself||"A Buzzwork Orange"|
|Back at the Barnyard||Barn Buddy (voice)|
|Big & Small||Small (voice)|
|Sesame Street||Denny the Distractor||"Hurry Up, You're Running Out of Time"|
|The View||Horny the Dwarf||Joy's Month in ReView|
|The Weird Al Show||Himself|
|The Comedy Central Roast: Joan Rivers||Himself|
|Seth MacFarlane's Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy||Himself|
|2010||'Til Death||Tommy||Guest starred|
|The Comedy Central Roast: David Hasselhoff||Himself|
|Robotomy||Tickle Me Psycho (voice)||"The Playdate"|
|2011||The Comedy Central Roast: Donald Trump||Himself|
|Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Leo Gerber|
|2012||The Comedy Central Roast: Roseanne Barr||Himself|
|The Burn with Jeff Ross||Himself|
|2013-2014||TruTV Presents: World's Dumbest...||Himself|
|2013||Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off||Himself|
|Celebrity Wife Swap||Himself||"Gilbert Gottfried/Alan Thicke"|
|MAD||Linkong, Father, Crash (voices)|
|2014||Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja||Ranginald Bagel (voice)|
|The Celebrity Apprentice 7||Himself|
|Dinner with Friends with Brett Gelman and Friends||Himself|
|Elf: Buddy's Musical Christmas||Mr. Greenway (voice)|
|Last Comic Standing||Himself|
|Big Brother 16||Otev (voice)|
|Newbridge Tourism Board Presents: We're Newbridge, We're Comin' To Get Ya!||Himself|
|Anger Management||Dudley||Guest starred|
|2014-2016||Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles||Kraang Subprime (voice)|
|2016||Mighty Magiswords||Prohyas' Stomach (voice)||Guest starred|
|Sharknado: The 4th Awakens||Ron McDonald||TV movie|
|2017||The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel||Strip Club MC||Episode: "Pilot"|
|Justice League Action||Mister Mxyztplk (voice)|
|Last Week Tonight with John Oliver||Jared Kushner (voice)||Season 4, Episodes 10 and 19|
|Sharknado 5: Global Swarming||Ron McDonald||TV movie|
|Episodes||Himself||Season 5, Episode 1|
|The Untitled Action Bronson Show||Himself||Season 1, Episode 7|
|2018||Transformers: Cyberverse||Thundercracker (voice)|
|1999||Disney's Arcade Frenzy||Iago the Parrot|
|2001||Disney's Aladdin in Nasira's Revenge||Iago the Parrot|
|2002||Kingdom Hearts||Iago the Parrot|
|2006||Kingdom Hearts II||Iago the Parrot|
|2010||APB: All Points Bulletin||Joker Ammo|
|2014||Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham||Mister Mxyzptlk|