Gilbert Gottfried

Gilbert Gottfried, Remembered

A.D. Amorosi recalls, with fondness three interactions with the recently and dearly departed comedic genius, Gilbert Gottfried.

When stand-up comedian and actor Gilbert Gottfried died, a dozen things raced through my mind, the least of which was the countless smart and hardcore foul-mouthed jokes (yes, of course, The Aristocrats, still one of comedy’s harshest post-pornographic, post-everything-decent jokes) he told in that signature cackling, rattle.

Three meetings between Gottfried and I stood out, one made on purpose and warm, the other far more accidental, and weird, the latter oddity motivated strictly by me.

Gilbert Gottfried

The initial meeting between us was an interview with Gottfried during the afternoon of his first time at the now-defunct Laff House on South Street in Philadelphia. There for a three-night stand, Gottfried and I met hours before his first gig, and he was effusive and friendly, talking about film and comedy references and heroes, deflecting attention from his own personality quirks. With that, Gottfried would (eventually, years later) remind me of Patton Oswalt, who, like me, was a vintage cinema buff that could name character actors, and recite offbeat script lines. Gottfried had a cool encyclopedic knowledge, and it was fun to balance that afternoon’s warm conversation with that same evening’s rapid-fire, rat-tat-tat (then eerily slow and repetitive) improvisation.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: At the request of the author of this article, this paragraph has been removed.)

The third time we met was for his comic documentary film with Philly’s late great Bob Saget, on the history and retelling of The Aristocrats joke. Ours was a normal interview, why-is-this-still-funny, what-is-the-brotherhood-of that-joke stuff. Easy conversation. In. Out. As we were walking away from each other, Gottfried gave me a weird glance and told me I somehow looked vaguely familiar. Nothing crazy. Just a “have we done this before” type of exchange.

I didn’t have the heart to tell him about either previous meeting. A shame on my part, and a missed opportunity.

Gilbert Gottfried

God bless and keep you, Gilbert Gottfried.

Images: Carolyn Cole, Scott Roth

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