By Jordan Moreau:
Gilbert Gottfried, the comedian, “Aladdin” star, and owner of the most recognizable voice in Hollywood, has died after battling a long illness, his family announced Tuesday. He was 67.
His publicist told the Washington Post that he died due to complications from muscular dystrophy.
“We are heartbroken to announce the passing of our beloved Gilbert Gottfried after a long illness. In addition to being the most iconic voice in comedy, Gilbert was a wonderful husband, brother, friend and father to his two young children. Although today is a sad day for all of us, please keep laughing as loud as possible in Gilbert’s honor,” his family wrote on Twitter.
Many people in Hollywood, including comedians Jason Alexander, Dane Cook and more, paid tribute to Gottfried after the shocking news of his death. “Gilbert Gottfried was never not funny,” wrote Cook. “He was a lovely guy, always friendly and made many people happy.”
I wish this never happened; I always liked Gilbert. But I wonder if he would have found the humor in dying in April, the month when the Television Crossover Hall of Fame celebrates April Fools. That is, if he had ever heard of the TVXOHOF, which is highly doubtful.
At any rate, as a member of the League of Themselves, Gottfried appeared in plenty of TV series as himself. And like our showcase inductee for this month – Jerry Seinfeld – he will be inducted into the Hall as a member of the League of Themselves.
Gilbert Jeremy Gottfried (February 28, 1955 – April 12, 2022) was an American actor and stand-up comedian. His persona as a comedian featured 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’ animated films and series, Digit LeBoid on PBS Kids's long-running ‘Cyberchase’, and Kraang Subprime in ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’. Gottfried was the voice of the Aflac Duck until 2011. He appeared in the critically-panned but commercially-successful ‘Problem Child’ in 1990.
From 2014 until his death in 2022, Gottfried hosted a podcast, Gilbert Gottfried's “Amazing Colossal Podcast”, which featured discussions of classic movies and celebrity interviews, most often with veteran actors, comedians, musicians, and comedy writers. “Gilbert”, a documentary film on Gottfried's life and career, was released in 2017.
Here are the credits which qualified Gilbert for membership in the TVXOHOF as a member of the League of Themselves. This would also count his appearances on talk shows as himself, but as they’re not needed to meet his qualifications minimum, those are just considered as flavoring.
The Original Max Talking Headroom Show
- Episode #1.6 (1987)
- Episode dated 1 October 1987 (1987)
O’Bservation: The other Max Headroom series, set “twenty minutes in the Future”, is in a different Toobworld. Earth Prime-Time should have their own Max.
Music Video short (1994)
- Ship Happens (1995)
Hope & Gloria
- Falling in Bed Again (1995)
- Dennis Quaid (1997)
O’Bservation: Gilbert Gottfried was the winner of the "spend an evening with Kermit contest".
... Al's "Imaginary" Friend Gilbert
O’Bservation: As it turned out, Gilbert wasn't imaginary; he was actually there. TV's Al wasn't just weird; he was crazy.
- Fifteen Minutes of Fame (1998)
- Raging Val (1999)
- Last Laugh (2003)
... Stand-Up Comedian
O’Bservation: Gottfried’s style was so distinctive and it is the rule that you don’t steal from your fellow comics. So I’m counting this as an appearance by Gilbert himself.
- Sleazy Rider (2005)
- Wacky Wednesday (2006)
- Wumpus the Monster (2006)
O’Bservation: His last name wasn’t used in the IMDb list of credits, but the guest stars were always playing themselves.
- Episode #1.4 (2008)
From the IMDb: John Popper shows the guys how sweet life could be as a full-time kids' band when he lands them a party for Gilbert Gottfried's son for $10,000.
- Audition Day (2009)
O’Bservation: This was a vocal appearance only, but he was name-checked as well. There were also two other episodes where he was name-checked by characters.
- Wonderful (2015)
- The Trial (2016)
- Episode One (2017)
O'Bservation: Gottfried is the celebrity contestant dressed as a priest.
- The Atheist (2018)
- Dreams (2019)
The Masked Singer
- Masking for a Duel - Round 2 (2022)
O'Bservation: As Penn & Teller were unmasked this episode, one of their clues was that Gilbert Gottfried was a friend.
Regarding the next two entries, usually I avoid talk shows and game shows, but both of these series are members of the TVXOHOF….
334 episodes (1998-2004)
7 episodes (2005-2016)
O'Bservation: Two shows in which I’m surprised Gilbert Gottfried didn’t appear as himself – The Larry Sanders Show and Curb Your Enthusiasm. I would have added Seinfeld as well, but many of the comics who appeared on the show played fictional characters.
O’Bservation: I need to do more research on this one. This could be an interface Borderland between a live-action Toobworld and the Tooniverse, similar to Space Ghost Coast To Coast.
- Gilbert's Kid (2009)
1] As with Greg The Bunny, ditto on the last names.
2] I’m not sure I would want this episode included in the main Toobworld as part of Gottfried’s legacy. I’m sure he found it’s tastelessness funny and the basics probably aren’t true – about him having a disabled son – but I think I may just relegate this to the Evil Toobworld.
- Love Just Got Fried (2019)
O’Bservation: I’m not exactly sure which of these anthropomorphic dots would be Gottfried. The one in the middle? The one in red? I know it can’t be the one with the big hairdo… or is it?
Gottfried also has a presence in the stop-motion Toobworld dimension which I dubbed “Claymatia”.
- Gottfried in the Arena (2002)
I don’t know if reincarnation is a thing, but if Gottfried did return, would it be as a duck or a parrot?
Good night and may God bless, Gilbert. I’m sorry you entered the TVXOHOF under these circumstances.