Comedian Gilbert Gottfried dies at 67
Gilbert Gottfried, a former cast member on NBC’s Saturday Night Live and the voice of a sarcastic parrot in the animated Disney film Aladdin, suffered a long, unspecified illness, the family statement said.
Gilbert Gottfried, a stand-up comic with a screwy voice and a penchant for pushing boundaries with jokes about the September 11 attacks and the Japanese tsunami, has died at age 67, his family said on Tuesday.
Gottfried, a former cast member on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” and the voice of a sarcastic parrot in the animated Disney film Aladdin, suffered a long, unspecified illness, the family statement said.
“In addition to being the most iconic voice in comedy, Gilbert was a wonderful husband, brother, friend and father to his two young children,” the statement said. “Although today is a sad day for all of us, please keep laughing as loud as possible in Gilbert’s honor.”
Born in Brooklyn, and rising up through the New York City stand-up scene, Gilbert Gottfried was known for edgy comedy that made some people squirm.
Two weeks after the attacks on New York and Washington that killed nearly 3,000 people in 2001, Gottfried joked about it during a roast of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, saying he could not book a direct flight from New York to California. “They said they have to stop at the Empire State Building first,” Gottfried said, drawing laughs and moans of “too soon.”
Reflecting on the moment later, Gottfried said in a television interview, “That’s the way my mind works. I wanted to basically address the elephant in the room.”
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That style of humor also cost him a lucrative role as the Aflac duck in television commercials for the insurer, which severed ties with Gottfried after he made a series of jokes on Twitter about the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that killed 18,000 people in Japan.
“I love to go where it’s a dark area. You never know what people will choose to be offended by,” Gottfried told The New York Times in 2013.