10 of the Best Gilbert Gottfried Performances of All Time

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The family of Gilbert Gottfried announced on Tuesday that the comedian had died following a long illness, later revealed to have been myotonic dystrophy type II, a rare form of muscular dystrophy. He’d maintained a performing schedule, and recorded episodes of his podcast in the weeks prior to his passing. Since at least the early 1980s, he’s been a constant presence in film, on television, and on the standup circuit, his distinctive voice serving as an instantly recognizable calling card.

But how committed was he to the Gilbert Gottfried bit? To that loud and unforgettable voice, and that overdeveloped sense of absurdity that occasionally landed him in hot water? How much of it was an act? The answer, suggested by the 2017 documentary Gilbert (and pretty much anyone who ever knew him), is…not as much as you’d think.

And he did shock, on more than one occasion—sometimes in ways that seem quaint by modern standards (masturbation jokes don’t have quite the power they used to), and at other times (with cracks about 9/11, Hitler, and the behind-the-scenes of Full House, for example) with material that hasn’t lost much of its edge. Even as he was known for not holding back much of anything with his comedy, he was still one of the most in-demand and successful children’s voiceover artists in modern history.

Gottfried was an inescapable fixture in pop culture over the past four decades (give or take) who had an expansive love for, and knowledge of, classic film, which led to the long-running (400+ episodes) Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast! (with co-host Frank Santopadre). By all accounts, he was a genuinely kind person who just happened to have a comedian’s gift for going for the jugular, and an impeccable sense of the absurd. He was 67.

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