After 30 years, Gilbert Gottfried still earns his living killing audiences with a repertoire of jokes that make your parents cringe and leave uptight media outlets demanding (bullshit) apologies. In recent years, the Brooklyn-born comic took some serious public scrutiny for jokes about touchy events like 9/11 and 2011's Japanese earthquake disaster. And yeah, some might think he's too blue, too crass, brings up situations "too soon," and that his voice is too shrill and his eyes are too squinty…and they'd be right about all of it. And that is the exact reason fans of Gottfried find him so undeniably awesome. With a stop at the Irvine Improv April 4th through 6th, it's best to leave your "square" pals at home–if you're expecting family friendly comedy from the guy who played "Iago" in Aladdin, you're sorely mistaken.
Before he heads into town, we jumped at the chance to chat it up with him to find out how the he ended up in a random infomercial and why he now chooses to apologize to the people he offends with the utmost sincerity (wink-wink).
OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): I happen to like comedy that's kinda "twisted." Have you always had such a sick sense of humor?
Gilbert Gottfried: I guess I've always had a sick sense of humor. The funny thing is that through most of my career, I would go out of my way to work clean just so I would know if a bit was actually funny. I've always liked dirty jokes, sick stuff, and dark humor though.
Did the Comedy Central Roasts lead to your involvement with the show "The Burn?"
Yeah the Roasts are always fun for me. I think maybe Jeff Ross made me the announcer of "The Burn" because of that whole tsunami incident were I lost my voiceover job and this was like a way of saying, it's okay over here.
Yeah that was wild, but a joke is a joke. And the "sushi delivery" one that you did made me laugh.
Oh yes! [Laughs.] Well one thing that I thought wrapped the whole thing up so neatly was one guy tweeted, "Aflac fires Gilbert after discovering that he's a comedian." It's like, whenever there is a tragic situation there are usually about eight to ten jokes that come out immediately and spread throughout the world. Everyone is telling each other but they did it at water coolers and now it's on Twitter.
Do tell…how did you end up doing the voiceover for the ShoeDini infomercial?
I actually didn't even have to audition for it! [Laughs.] If you watch the commercials for it, you'll see old people falling to their death trying to put their shoes on, which is also the way most old people die nowadays. Now, there are a lot of cynics out there who'll say, "Why don't those old people just sit down?" But that's just people who have no heart. Old people are on their way to a 3:00 p.m. dinner special and they don't have time to sit. Plus if an old person sits it takes them three hours to get up again. [Laughs.]
Oh my god so true! So do you think you'll be doing some apologizing to the people of Irvine after your show?
I feel at this point there should just be one apology and I can add in the name for the party I've offended. I've always said that the rules are, when you hear a joke and it's funny, laugh. If it's not funny, don't laugh. I feel like those instructions should be handed out to everyone who ever hears a joke.
Gilbert Gottfried performs at the Irvine Improv on April 4th-6th, 71 Fortune Drive Irvine, CA 92618., (949) 854-5455. For tickets go to www.Improv.com. For more info, visit www.GilbertGottfried.com and follow him on Twitter: @RealGilbert.