Aflac, the insurance company with a lot of business in Japan, fired comedian Gilbert Gottfried as the voice of the Aflac duck because he joked about the tsunami in Japan last month. This is the guy they picked to replace Gottfried as the voice of the duck.
Roll the clip!
Gilbert Gottfried's career has not stalled in the wake of his AFLAC/Japan kerfuffle. In fact, Gottfried has a new book coming out later this month, "Rubber Balls and Liquor," which is part memoir, part excuse to publish more dirty and offensive jokes.
Like this one. This one is titled "Joke 1." And yes, it's Not Safe For Work. Or the ears of the easily offended. Roll it!
Here is Gottfried explaining why he wrote the book. Sort of.
The tragic events in Japan, and Gilbert Gottfried's jokes about them on Twitter, prompted Aflac to fire him as the insurance company's talking spokesduck.
Well, Gottfried has apologized publicly about his jokes, but now he's responded as a comedian with this Funny or Die video, in which he reminds everyone that he has made cruel and unusually too soon jokes about every tragic event through history. Roll the clip!
This video: So many questions!
And I don't mean the interviewer (from the NY Post) has a lot of questions, although one of his statements prompts a question: What does it mean to "put out a Twitter Tweet"? When did Andrew "Dice" Clay become a pirate? Why would Dice comment on Eddie Murphy in 2011, but not Gilbert Gottfried? What's Dice saying during the bleeps? Are you following Mrs. Dice Clay on Twitter? (Spoiler alert to that last question: Probably most likely not)
On the other hand, Dice does make some good points. Carlos Estevez is not winning and needs help.
Roll the clip and see what questions pop into your head!
Who knows what goes on inside the mind of Gilbert Gottfried?
In this new short film he made himself, the comedian transforms himself into a "Scary Monster." This is how Gottfried explains it: "I threw this film together with a pocket camera. I did the makeup myself from shit I had around the house. My agent saw it and said it looked 'Cheap, childish and not all that funny.' I said, 'Yeah, so what's the problem?'" Should he have at least yelped "Aflac!" at the end? You be the judge. Roll it!
Some products are so silly, that when you see the ads for them on TV, you begin to wonder how even the people in the ads can take them seriously. I suppose that's what the people who make the Shoe Dini felt, too, and decided to hire Gilbert Gottfried to provide the voiceover for their ads. They also posted this alternate "funny" version online to acknowledge the nonsense even more, allowing Gottfried to compare their product to spray-on hair. Now if only they'd put more ads like this on the TV. Roll it.
I knew I should have gone to today's Friars Club Roast of Matt Lauer! I'd seen Jeffrey Ross try out some of his roast jokes earlier this week at Seth Herzog's Sweet show at The Slipper Room, but reluctantly didn't ask Ross to get me into the roast. Argh. Ross wasn't roastmaster general on this lunch, ceding that honor to Lauer's Today Show colleague, Al Roker. But. I missed seeing Tom Cruise make a surprise visit to the dais. As the gossipy tabloids reveal, Cruise joked that he and Lauer actually were good friends with altered pics. OK! Magazine relays Lauer's retorts, which were pretty witty: "Come on, Tom... Stay. We can get a booster seat!" And when he realized Tom wasn't returning, he added, "Oh, guess his spaceship has to leave." Nancy O'Dell from Access Hollywood also jotted down some of the barbs Lauer received from Katie Couric, Meredith Vieira and others. (Photo courtesy of NBC)
If it's glib you're looking for, Entertainment Tonight's Mary Hart interviewed Lauer right before the roast.
UPDATED: The Village Voice's editor wrote down more raunchy roast lines. And here's my friend Mandy Stadtmiller from the New York Post getting lots of quotes from the red carpet...
Which Today Show personality is trying her hands at stand-up comedy? Al Roker? Good guess, but no. Matt Lauer? Despite his girlish hands, it won't be him. Didn't you read the headline on this post? It's Ann Curry. Here is photographic evidence of Curry with Gilbert Gottfried, and no, they're not an item, but imagining the two of them together, in that way, could be comedy to some.
Curry met with Gottfried recently at the Comic Strip Live for some pointers, and apparently this is part of some sort of wacky Today segment that has anchors facing their fears. If you watch Today, do you get the sense that Curry fears comedy? Hmmm. She will be taking the stage in front of a live audience at Carolines sometime next week (Jossip is saying Monday, July 7). If Curry thinks she can make a run at my title as New York's Funniest Reporter, well, then, I say the more, the merrier. Bring it on, TV anchors!
In case you haven't been following the Internets, ABC News recently struck up a partnership with its Times Square neighbor, Carolines, for a weekly interview/performance segment called Carolines on GMA Now. Club owner Caroline Hirsch also takes part in the segments and often has her own questions for the comedians. It appears as part of the magically mysterious third hour of Good Morning America, which doesn't appear on the regular ABC television network, but rather on some digital cable systems, mobile phone networks and definitely online. ABC doesn't like to offer embedded video, so instead, we've got links to share.
The mix includes both headliners working the club that weekend (natural cross-promotion) as well as up-and-coming New York-based stand-ups. Sometimes there's a performance in the ABC studio with a small audience (that's a tough room!). Sometimes not. Last week's segment had a rather revealing interview with Mike DeStefano.
“We’re thrilled to be teaming up with ABC News' ‘Good Morning America NOW’ on this new program,” Hirsch said in the official press release earlier this spring. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to showcase our lively and entertaining programming on ABC News NOW -- across all of its platforms -- broadband, cable and mobile.”
Sunday's New York Post ran a top 50 jokes of the past year list that's sure to generate reader debate and discussion, much like these lists always set out to accomplish in the first place. And if you read the list closely, you can already see that it's not necessarily the best or top 50 jokes overall, but merely the favorite jokes from a select group of comedians, accompanied by those comedians listing their favorite jokes from other stand-ups. An odd list to say the least. Few got me literally laughing out loud. I did enjoy the bits picked from John Oliver, Liam McEneaney, Carolyn Castiglia, Marc Maron and Dave Attell.
But the first joke on the list stopped me in my tracks, because I knew I'd heard it before, and not from Roseanne, although she's given credit for it in the publication. Here's the joke in question:
A doctor tells a guy: "I have bad news. You have Alzheimer's, and you have cancer." Guy says, "Thank God I don't have cancer."
Now I know I've heard Gilbert Gottfried tell this joke live onstage last year. And it's on his CD/DVD, Dirty Jokes (though that doesn't mean it was his, since that set is a collection of his old favorites, including stock material, right?). Roseanne wrote it down on her blog last December, without attribution other than titling the post, "Great Joke." Wild Willy Parsons also lists it on his joke page. No matter who said it first, it's certainly not a new joke. I wonder, though, who should get credit for it? The way the Internet works, Roseanne already has gotten cited on many online sites that link to this article. The way the world works, you'd expect Gottfried to get the credit since he recorded it first. Or did he? Who said this joke first? Who wrote it? Do you know? Where did you hear it first?
Some comics really try heard to stay in character. Dan Whitney does all of his interviews as "Larry the Cable Guy" with the Larry accent and persona. Same goes for Sacha Baron Cohen as "Borat." Bobcat Goldthwait, on the other hand, rose to fame with a unique vocal delivery but in recent years has dropped the squeaky squeal and talked in his regular speaking voice. Gottfried amuses me because he's got his stage voice that even got employed to make a duck shout "AFLAC!" but is more than eager to tone it down over the telephone. Affleck?
That said, he still says plenty of NSFW things. And he doesn't seem to mind toying with the crowd, or the inteviewer. Actually, we got along quite well. At one point, he suggested that I accompany him on all future interviews. But what about this one?
Gottfried showed up in 2006 on Last Comic Standing's comedy roast, fitting since Gottfried's routine on the roast of Hugh Hefner just after 9/11 helped prompt The Aristocrats documentary.
"I didn't want to be one of the comics trying out. And uh, yeah, a lot of people seemed to see that, watched that show."
Did you give any of the comedians roasting tips?
"No, I didn't give anyone advice. I just figured like most stuff I do, I'd hang around long enough and get my check and go home."
Gottfried is one of several comedians who blogs.
"I'm always wondering if anyone actually reads them. A couple of times, I'd actually try to write stuff, and then other times, I'd fill it with knock-knock jokes and riddles for little kids."
Don't comedy fans really want to know what you're thinking, though?
"Most of the time, you realize it's not much. This is the problem. When they do reality show and they'll find someone...all of a sudden they're taking the celebrity bull-fighting and parachute jumping! If they really had a reality show, it'd be people sitting around watching TV, looking to see what's in their refrigerator."
So what's in your refrigerator?
"Nothing you can eat. Stuff to grow. Like a science experiment."
Did you know that HBO was making a big deal about you when it debuted The Aristocrats?
"It was an obscene, sudden credibility. That was the one time I was treated with respect by the critics. Hopefully they'll show this 57 times a day (on HBO) and I'll lose every children's job. With AFLAC, I think they'll wake up and realize, 'Hey, we can get an actual duck to do this!' And I do a kiddie show. Cyberchase, that's on PBS. And so it's like, basically my career walking a tightrope between early morning children's programming and late-night porn!"
Gottfried is a frequent guest both with Howard Stern's radio show and Jay Leno's TV show. So does that make him the magical link between Stern and his former sidekick, the no longer stuttering John Melendez?
"Which is something the public has been asking about for sometime now! I guess I am the magic link there. Last time I was on The Tonight Show was recently as Kim Jong-il. It was very odd. It was the second time I was Kim Jong-il. The last time they put me on, all they put me in was a military jacket...we got complaints from the anti-Asian defamation league!"
Anyone who really wants to understand the psyche of the stand-up comedian, the process of constructing a stand-up set and the business behind the show business -- well, you should see the 2002 documentary Comedian. That movie is full of insight. The Aristocrats, on the other hand, exists more as a way to turn what inherently is a subjective form of entertainment -- what you think is funny isn't what everyone else thinks is funny -- into something more scientific and objective. See how dozens of different comedians tackle the same premise. In doing so, maybe you'll find out more about the comedian telling the joke. Or not. I finally saw the film on the big screen (thank you, Coolidge Corner Theatre), and the highlights for me were those moments in which you got to see which comedians really have creative genius in their corner. Among those moments, again for me...
-- George Carlin, getting self-analytical mid-routine
-- Gilbert Gottfried, more for his explanations of the joke than for his 2001 live performance of the joke at the Comedy Central roast that reportedly inspired the documentary
-- Eric Mead turning card tricks for his joke (impressive on that level alone)
-- Billy The Mime, because he didn't care about being on a public boulevard
-- Dana Gould's discussions all around the joke
-- Bob Saget, not for showing his true stand-up self (because anyone who follows comedy already knew that), but for cracking himself up repeatedly, yet continuing to tell the joke
-- Mario Cantone's channeling session (spooky but silly)
-- Sarah Silverman's endearing creepiness
-- And the South Park gang's animated bit (by the way, a new season has begun on Comedy Central -- you should still be watching it)