Gilbert Gottfried
Gottfried at GalaxyCon Richmond in 2020
Gilbert Jeremy Gottfried

(1955-02-28) February 28, 1955 (age 66)[1]
  • Actor
  • stand-up comedian
  • singer
  • musician
Years active1970–present
Dara Kravitz
(m. 2007)
RelativesArlene Gottfried (sister)
Comedy career
Subject(s) Edit this at Wikidata

Gilbert Jeremy Gottfried[1] (born February 28, 1955) is an American actor and stand-up comedian. 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 animated films and TV show, Digit LeBoid in the PBS Kids Go! show 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 commercial hit Problem Child in 1990.

Since 2014, Gottfried has hosted a podcast, Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Colossal Podcast, which features new episodes each week featuring discussions of classic movies and celebrity interviews, most often with veteran actors, comedians, musicians and comedy writers.[2] Gilbert, a documentary film on Gottfried's life and career, was released in 2017.


Early life and career

Gottfried was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Lillian (Zimmerman), a homemaker, and Max Gottfried, who ran a hardware store with his own father, above which the family lived.[3] 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."[4] 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.[5][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.[7]

Gottfried also played accountant Sidney Bernstein in the 1987 film Beverly Hills Cop II which reunited him with friend and fellow SNL alumnus Eddie Murphy.

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. However, the character was ultimately recast to Alan Tudyk for the 2019 remake. Gottfried also voiced Berkeley Beetle in 1994's Thumbelina.

Gottfried was the host of the Saturday edition of USA Up All Night for its entire run from 1989 to 1998.

Voice acting, television, internet, and films (1999–present)

Gottfried was a recurring guest star during the Tom Bergeron era of The Hollywood Squares and became the central figure in a bizarre episode that aired October 1, 1999. In this episode, the two contestants made nine consecutive incorrect guesses, six of which were to be game-deciding questions asked to Gottfried. Penn Jillette, who, with his partner Teller was a guest on the same episode, berated a contestant earlier for giving an incorrect guess by shouting "You fool!", which Gottfried himself then began to use, with most of the other stars including host Bergeron himself eventually joining in with every successive wrong guess, beginning with the second question he was asked. As a consequence, it took the entire half hour to play only one game. Appropriately, the episode became known as the "You Fool!" episode.

Gottfried fed by Larry King's wife, Shawn Southwick in 1999
Gottfried fed by Larry King's wife, Shawn Southwick in 1999

Gottfried has provided the voice of the duck in the Aflac commercials and Digit in Cyberchase, as well as Mister Mxyzptlk (pronounced "Mitz-yez-pit-lik") in Superman: The Animated Series. He reprised his role as Mxyzptlk in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, Justice League Action, and Lego DC Super-Villains. 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.[8] 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".

Gottfried at the Writers Guild of America East Solidarity Rally in Washington Square on November 27, 2007
Gottfried at the Writers Guild of America East Solidarity Rally in Washington Square on November 27, 2007

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.[9] 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.[10] 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.[11]

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.[12] 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.[13] His first guest was Dick Cavett.

Gottfried was the third contestant fired during the fourteenth season of the NBC reality show The Celebrity Apprentice. In 2016 he played the 'Pig Man' in a comedy/fantasy film Abnormal Attraction.[14]

In 2017 he appeared as himself in Episodes, where a contestant on a fictional TV endurance gameshow is penalised with "48 hours of Gilbert Gottfried".

On June 10, 2018 he appeared in a special segment of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver where, for UK viewers only, a segment about the UK's law restricting broadcast of debates from the Houses of Parliament was replaced by five minutes of him reading "3 star Yelp reviews", along with host John Oliver telling the audience "you brought this on yourself because of your stupid law". He returned on November 18, 2018 in the show's last episode of the year to read out extracts from the Brexit agreement, again for UK viewers only.[15] He had previously performed as "the real voice of Jared Kushner" in dubbed film clips on the show.

On July 31, 2019, he appeared as a guest in episode 170 of the Angry Video Game Nerd.[16]

Personal life

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.[17] Gottfried was raised in a Jewish family, but he has commented on his podcast that he did not have a bar mitzvah.[18] One of his sisters was Arlene Gottfried, a New York street photographer who died in 2017.

Comedic style

Gottfried in 2016
Gottfried in 2016

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.[19]

Gottfried is known for speaking in a loud and grating voice, which is not his natural speaking voice.[20] 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."[21] 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.'[22]

Controversial jokes

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.[23] Viewers on the East Coast saw the entire set live, but Fox censored the broadcast for the West Coast delay.[24] Fox issued an apology, stating that Gottfried's jokes were "irresponsible and insulting".[23] Gottfried said that producers stated he would not be invited back,[25] and Rolling Stone wrote that the monologue resulted in his being "blacklisted".[21]

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!" Realising he had lost the audience “bigger than anybody has ever lost an audience",[26] Gottfried then abandoned his prepared remarks and launched into the venerable Aristocrats joke, winning back the audience.[27] Penn Jillette and Paul Provenza used Gottfried's monologue as a segment in their 2005 film The Aristocrats.[28]

Japanese tsunami jokes

In March 2011, Gottfried made a series of jokes on his Twitter account about the earthquake disaster in Japan.[29] 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.[30] He was replaced by Daniel McKeague (who did an impression of Gottfried) on April 26, 2011.[31]



Year Title Role Notes
1984 The House of God Paramedic
1985 Bad Medicine Tony Sandoval
1987 Beverly Hills Cop II Sidney Bernstein
1988 Hot to Trot Dentist
Katy Meets the Aliens X (voice) English version
1989 Never on Tuesday Lucky Larry Lupin
1990 The Adventures of Ford Fairlane Johnny Crunch Nominated — Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actor
Seriously...Phil Collins Roger
Problem Child Mr. Peabody Nominated — Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actor
Look Who's Talking Too Joey, The Baby Gym Instructor
1991 Problem Child 2 Mr. Peabody
Horror Hall of Fame 2 Boris
Highway to Hell Hitler
1992 Aladdin Iago the Parrot (voice)
1994 House Party 3 Luggage Clerk
Thumbelina Berkeley Beetle (Mr. Beetle) (voice)
The Return of Jafar Iago the Parrot (voice) Direct-to-video
Saved By The Bell: Wedding In Las Vegas Burt Banner
Double Dragon Walter
1995 The Magic Gift of the Snowman Charlatan (voice)
Problem Child 3: Junior in Love Dr. Peabody
1996 Aladdin and the King of Thieves Iago the Parrot (voice) Direct-to-video
Be Cool about Fire Safety! Seymour Smoke (voice)
Escape from It's a Wonderful Life Angry man on porch
1997 Meet Wally Sparks Mr. Harry Karp
Def Jam's How to Be a Player Tony the Doorman
1998 Dr. Dolittle Compulsive Dog (voice)
1999 Goosed Alan Levy
2001 Longshot Mr. Chadwick
2002 Mickey's House of Villains Iago the Parrot (voice) Direct-to-video
2004 The Amazing Floydini Magic Store owner
Back by Midnight Security Guard
Funky Monkey Dr. Spleen
Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events Duck
2005 The Aristocrats Himself
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) Direct-to-video
2008 Gilbert Gottfried: Dirty Jokes Himself
2009 The Lindabury Story Himself
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
Director's Cut Superintendent
Unbelievable!!!! Major LeGrande Bushe
Gender Bender Dr. Montalto
Life, Animated Himself
The Comedian Gilbert Gottfried
Hospital Arrest Jerome Carter
2017 Gilbert Himself
80s Creature House Grim Reaper
Animal Crackers Mario Zucchini (voice)
2018 Abnormal Attraction Pig Man[14]
2018 Boy Band Mort (voice)
2019 Super Gidget Infestor (voice) Short
2020 A Wrestling Christmas Miracle Rice
2020 The Truth About Santa Claus Dr. Leland
TBA Hassle at the Castle Ratley Pre-production


Year Title Role Notes
1980–1981 Saturday Night Live Various characters Cast member; 12 episodes
1983–1984 Thicke of the Night
1987 The Cosby Show Mr. Babcock "Say Hello to a Good Buy"
1989-1998 USA Up All Night Saturday night host
1990 Superboy Nick-Nack (voice)
1991 Night Court Oscar Brown
1993–1995 Bonkers Two-Bits (voice) 2 episodes
1993 Problem Child Mr. Peabody
1994 Living Single Larry Friedlander
1994–1995 Aladdin Iago the Parrot (voice) 83 episodes
1994 The Ren & Stimpy Show Jerry the Bellybutton Elf / Adonis (voice)
1994–1997 Duckman Art DeSalvo (voice) Recurring role; 4 episodes
1994–1995 Wings Lewis Guest role; 3 episodes
1995 Married... with Children Himself "Ship Happens"
Adventures in Wonderland Mike McNasty "Pie Noon"
Mad About You Spanky's Master "The Couple"
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) 4 episodes
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
1997–1998 Superman: The Animated Series Mister Mxyzptlk (voice) 2 episodes
1997 Bear in the Big Blue House Large Possum (voice) "Welcome to Woodland Valley Part 2"
1998 Cosby Cellmate "Fifteen Minutes of Fame"
Noddy Jack Frost "Jack Frost is Coming to Town"[32]
Hercules Minister Clion (voice)
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)
2001–2002 The Fairly OddParents Dr. Bender / Wendel (voices) 3 episodes
2001–2003 Disney's House of Mouse Iago the Parrot (voice) 7 episodes
2002–present Cyberchase Digit, Widget (voices) Daytime Emmy [Nominee]
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"
2003 Becker Alan
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Comic "Last Laugh"
2004 Home Movies Tonko the Parrot (voice)
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno Various sketches 8 episodes
Celebrity Paranormal Project
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 Horse (voice) / Dog Whistle (voice) Episode: "Boys Do Cry" / "Big Trouble in Little Quahog"
My Gym Partner's a Monkey Rick Platypus (voice) "That Darn Platypus"
2008 Hannah Montana Barney Bitman "(We're So Sorry) Uncle Earl"
I Love the New Millennium 4 Episodes
Comedy Central Roast: Bob Saget Himself
The Replacements "A Buzzwork Orange"
Back at the Barnyard Barn Buddy (voice) "Barn Buddy"
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
Pyramid Celebrity Guest
Hollywood Squares Regular
2009 Star-ving "Gilbert's Kid"
Comedy Central Roast: Joan Rivers
Seth MacFarlane's Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy
2010 'Til Death Tommy Guest starred
Comedy Central Roast: David Hasselhoff Himself
Robotomy Tickle Me Psycho (voice) "The Playdate"
2011 Comedy Central Roast: Donald Trump Himself
Roast of Facebook Twitter
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Leo Gerber 2 episodes
2012 Comedy Central Roast: Roseanne Barr Himself
The Burn with Jeff Ross
2013–2014 TruTV Presents: World's Dumbest...
2013 Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off
Celebrity Wife Swap "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
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–present Akame Ga Kill Abridged Generic Male Friend (voice) Online web show
2014–2016 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Kraang Subprime (voice) 6 episodes
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) 3 episodes
2017–2019 Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Jared Kushner (voice) / Himself 4 episodes
2017 Sharknado 5: Global Swarming Ron McDonald TV movie
Episodes Himself Season 5, Episode 1
Cash Cab
The Untitled Action Bronson Show Season 1, Episode 7
2018 Crashing Episode: "The Atheist"
The Last Sharknado: It's About Time Rand McDonald TV Movie
The Tom and Jerry Show Genie (voice) Episode: "Meanie Genie"
Arrested Development ShoeDini Advertiser (voice) Episode: "Sinking Feelings"
2019 The Late Show with Stephen Colbert Himself/Redaction/Samantha/Lord Sexy 3 episodes
Critters: A New Binge Uncle 5 episodes
Historical Roasts Adolf Hitler Episode: "Anne Frank"
SpongeBob SquarePants Himself (cameo)/Sal (voice) "SpongeBob's Big Birthday Blowout"/"The Hankering" (2 Episodes)
2020 Karate Tortoise Rat Bastard Legend of the Shelled Vigilante
2022 Smiling Friends God Episode: "Charlie Dies and Doesn't Come Back"

Video games

Year Title Role
1999 Disney's Arcade Frenzy Iago the Parrot
2001 Disney's Aladdin in Nasira's Revenge
2002 Kingdom Hearts
2006 Kingdom Hearts II
2014 Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham Mister Mxyzptlk
2018 Lego DC Super-Villains Mister Mxyzptlk
2020 Angry Video Game Nerd 1 & 2 Deluxe Fred Fuchs


Year Title Role Notes
2012 CollegeHumor Himself Episode: "Gilbert Gottfried Reads 50 Shades of Grey"
2019 Angry Video Game Nerd Fred Fuchs Episode: "Life of Black Tiger"
2021 SicCooper[33] Himself Episode: "We Purchased Another Small Sega Master System Collection + More!"



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  3. ^ Grimes, William (August 10, 2017). "Arlene Gottfried, Photographer Who Found the Extraordinary in the Ordinary, Dies at 66". The New York Times. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
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  5. ^ Edgers, Geoff (October 30, 2014). "The first time Prince could have saved Saturday Night Live". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 23, 2016.
  6. ^ Gus Wezerek (December 14, 2019). "The 'S.N.L.' Stars Who Lasted, and the Ones Who Flamed Out". The New York Times. Archived from the original on December 14, 2019. Retrieved December 16, 2019. Some of the names here will be familiar only to die-hard fans; others, like Murphy, defined what was funny for generations of viewers.
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  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 28, 2016. Retrieved January 17, 2022.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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  21. ^ a b Mark, Binelli (July 18, 2005). "Gilbert Gottfried: The Annoying Guy". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
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  24. ^ Kuklenski, Valerie (August 21, 1991). "Blue Sunday at Emmy Awards". UPI. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
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  28. ^ Ebert, Roger (August 12, 2005). "The Aristocrats". Roger Retrieved March 28, 2011.
  29. ^ "Gilbert Gottfried Under Fire for Tweeting 12 Shocking Tsunami-Related Jokes". The Hollywood Reporter. March 14, 2011. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  30. ^ a b Cina, Mark (March 14, 2011). "Gilbert Gottfried Fired as Aflac Duck After Japan Tweets". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 15, 2011.
  31. ^ "The Aflac Duck's New Voice Comes From a Minnesota Sales Manager". Yahoo. Archived from the original on April 30, 2011. Retrieved April 26, 2011.
  32. ^ "NODDY - Jack Frost Is Coming to Town". KET. June 6, 1999. Archived from the original on November 5, 2013. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
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