Gilbert Gottfried (born February 28, 1955) is an American actor and stand-up comedian best known for his trademark comedic persona of speaking in a loud and grating tone of voice.[1] He has played numerous roles in film and television, perhaps most notably voicing the parrot Iago in Disney's Aladdin (1992), and co-starred in the Problem Child movies. He is also known for voicing Digit in the children's cartoon/educational math-based show Cyberchase.


At age fifteen, Gilbert Gottfried began doing amateur stand-up in New York City and, after a few years, became known as "the comedian's comedian."[2] In 1980, the popular NBC late-night comedy show Saturday Night Live was being retooled with a new staff and new comedians; the producers noticed Gottfried and hired him as a cast member. During the 1980–1981 season, 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 lowpoint was having to play a corpse in a sketch. 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.

Although not a regular, he also appeared in the short-lived 1992 TV series The Amazing Live Sea Monkeys and voiced a crazed dentist "Dr. Bender" and his son Wendell on the show The Fairly OddParents and the voice of Jerry the Belly Button Elf on Ren and Stimpy. He is notably known for his voice-overs as ducks or other birds—when asked how he prepared for his role of Iago (Aladdin) in Aladdin, he said "I did the whole DeNiro thing. I moved to South America! I lived in the trees!" {An injoke on the series has Iago running in terror when his face resembles Gilbert Gottfried!} In 1993 he was interviewed by Chris Aable at the "B Minus Movie Awards" along with David Cassidy and Gary Coleman. Gottfried's interview aired on Chris Aable's cable TV show "Hollywood Today" in 1994 and is now part of his video "America's Craziest Home Videos". He was a co-host of the Saturday edition of USA Up All Night with Rhonda Shear.[2]

Since 2000, he has also been the voice of the duck in the AFLAC commercials and Digit in the math-mystery cartoon Cyberchase on PBS Kids GO!, as well as the magical imp Mr. Mxyzptlk on Superman: The Animated Series.[2] He also played a nasty wisecracking criminal genius named "Nick-Nack" who used toys to commit crimes on two episodes of the TV series Superboy (he also co-wrote an issue of the tie-in Superboy: The Comic Book which featured the origin of his character, Nick-Nack). Gottfried made regular appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.[2]

He also appeared as a semi-regular in the most recent version of Hollywood Squares. He is best remembered for a 1999 episode in which a single round of play took up the entire half-hour. The contestants had each won four stars/squares, leaving Gottfried as the last square available. Because either player could win upon capturing Gottfried's square, they could not win on their competitor's wrong response and had to win it themselves. The contestants alternated agreeing or disagreeing about whether Gottfried was bluffing an answer—and missed six consecutive tries. Five of those times he admonished the contestant with an increasingly incredulous "YOU FOOL!" The seventh time he and the contestant agreed, and they finally won the square and the game. This segment has been featured on game show blooper programs and it is popular on youtube.

Gottfried is also a notorious favorite of Howard Stern, appearing on his radio show numerous times;[2] Gottfried has made more appearances than any other celebrity guest. Most famous for his impersonation of "Dracula Gottfried" he is also well known for his numerous, and often raunchy/racial, parodies of public figures including 1950s B-movie stars and a particularly accurate impersonation of the aged Groucho Marx. Gottfried also does an impersonation of Jerry Seinfeld, which he has showcased on the Stern show as well as Clerks: The Animated Series. Coming on the Stern show immediately after David Brenner years ago, Gottfried proceeded to parody Brenner's lengthy child custody problems and Brenner's former girl friend's drug addiction and her adequacy as custodial parent: "Sure she uses heroin, but she still takes vitamin C!" Gilbert was censored on the Sirius satellite version of the Stern show after making an off-color joke about Steve Irwin's daughter Bindi Irwin.[3]

He frequently parodies rabbis and cantors, making up atonal gibberish prayers and compositions on the spot. Gilbert is known for his impression of Andrew Dice Clay...or "Dice Gottfried".

Gottfried famously told the venerable Aristocrats joke at a Friars Club roast of Hugh Hefner just three weeks after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Gottfried's quick wit saved what could have been a notorious disaster. He began his monologue joking that he had intended to catch a plane, but couldn't get a direct flight because "they said they have to connect with the Empire State Building first." Audience members nervously responded with gasps and cries of "Too soon!". Gottfried first thought this was relating to the speed of his joke. Gottfried then abandoned his prepared remarks and launched into the Aristocrats joke, effectively winning back the audience and having roaster Rob Schneider literally falling out of his chair laughing. When the laughter and applause had subsided, Gottfried commented, "They might have to clean this up for TV," to more laughter and applause. Penn Jillette and Paul Provenza used Gottfried's monologue as a segment in their 2005 film, The Aristocrats.

File:Writer's Guild of America East Soladarity Rally in Washington Square.jpg

Gottfried at the Writer's Guild of America East Solidarity Rally in Washington Square (2007)

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.[4] 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". Furthermore, Gottfried appeared as Peter's horse in an episode of Family Guy entitled "Boys Do Cry". He also guest-starred in Hannah Montana as Barny Bittmen. In January 2009, Gottfried worked again with David Faustino (Bud Bundy from Married with Children) for an episode of Faustino's show Star-ving.[5]

Personal life

On December 6, 2006, Gottfried announced on The Howard Stern Show that he was engaged and that his fiancée, longtime girlfriend Dara Kravitz, was pregnant. Gottfried and Kravitz were married on February 3, 2007. They have two children, a daughter and a son. He is also devoutly Jewish.[citation needed]




  • Aflac: The Aflac Duck (voice)
  • ShoeDini: (voiceover) The ShoeDini is, as he describes it in the commercial, "a shoe horn on a stick".
  • Public Service Announcment: He is the voice of Seymour Smoke, the talking smoke detector.
  • Voiced the talking shadow puppet mascot in a series of Subway commercials in 2000.


External links

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