Six Of Gilbert Gottfried's Most Hilarious Moments

Gilbert Gottfried has passed away at the age of 67, leaving behind a legacy of utter filth, intense depravity, and sick humor that we will all desperately and tragically miss. While Gottfried's highest-profile role as an actor likely came from voicing the animated parrot Iago in the G-rated 1992 film "Aladdin," anyone who bothered to delve into his stand-up career would discover some pretty blue humor. Gottfried was often deliberately politically incorrect, telling some of the most tasteless jokes imaginable on stage to the shock and horror — and delight — of his audiences. 

Gottfried's onstage persona was that of a brash, shrieking a**hole who doesn't seem to realize how caustic and shrill he is. Like a drunken borsht-belt comedian who long ago lost his ability to adhere to decorum, Gottfried would wail obscenities at his audience, and then whip out a punchline that was somehow even darker than the setup. Example: In his 2005 stand-up special "Dirty Jokes," Gottfried tells a joke about a doctor breaking bad news to a husband that his wife has been horribly mutilated in a car accident. The doctor describes the damage in explicit terms, and the listening husband is horrified to learn how much work he'll have to put into keeping his wife comfortable. When the husband breaks down, the doctor nudges him and says "Nah, I'm just f**kin' with ya. She's dead." 

The boldness. 

Here are some wonderful highlights of Gottfried's shocking/hilarious comedy career:

A Million Ways to Die in the West

Seth McFarlane's 2014 Western spoof "A Million Ways to Die in the West" is a sprawling, slightly-too-long homage to films like "Blazing Saddles" and "The Villain." In it, Gottfried has a cameo as, of all people, President Abraham Lincoln (well, not really). The concept of Gottfried playing Lincoln is funny enough — the stentorian speaker adopting Gottfried's stage persona is comedy unto itself. Then Gottfried got to inspire a group of students by declaring that he was "so f**king rich, I can have all the licorice I want!"

It's only about 30 seconds of screen time, but it's a lovely 30 seconds. 

McFarlane and Gottfried had worked together in the past, as Gottfried voiced a couple random bits on "Family Guy," including this horse.

Fifty Shades of Grey

When E.L. James' landmark pornographic novel "Fifty Shades of Grey" was topping (heh) the Bestseller charts, many critics emerged to talk about the book's odd use of language, citing James' common flipping back and forth between intense sexual detail and golly-gee adolescent expletives. The phrase "my inner goddess" was used repeatedly. Of course, the prose was not the reason most people bought "Fifty Shades of Grey," preferring the zesty depiction of posh sadomasochistic sexual encounters. 

College Humor wisely thought to put James' words into Gottfried's mouth, and the comedian screaming about his inner goddess and his own vagina will crack the strongest visage. The reactions of the women listening to the audiobook are priceless. 

Jerry the Bellybutton Elf

John Kricfalusi, the creator of "The Ren & Stimpy Show" was notoriously fired from his own series because he constantly butted heads with the network's standards and practices, argued with producers, and was unable to make the show on a studio timetable. The show continued for several years without John K.'s direct input (John K. would struggle to make cartoons for years, and was eventually ousted for his habit of grooming teenage girls). It was in 1994 that Gottfried appeared on the show as, rather surreally, a character named Jerry the Bellybutton Elf. 

In "Jerry the Bellybutton Elf," Stimpy (Billy West), an animated version of Larry Fine, would become weirdly obsessed with his own navel to the point of climbing inside of it. While inside his own bellybutton, Stimpy would meet the title character (voiced by Gottfried), a miniature, lint-draped cyclops that immediately turned Stimpy into his slave. When Stimpy presents Jerry with a meal of lint loaf (?), Jerry has one of the most vocal and unusual freakouts in a show full of them. Gottfried didn't just employ his well-known voice, but pushed it to 11, shrieking at the top of his lungs and mutating into a giant murderous porkchop. What a class act. 

Mr. Mxyzptlk

Another notable animated villain voiced by Gottfried was one of Superman's more notorious foes: Mr. Mxyzptlk (pronounced "mix-yes-spit-lick"). In 1996's "Superman: The Animated Series," Gottfried played the impish trickster god as a creature let loose from the funny papers, easily able to decipher Clark Kent's secret identity and eager to defeat him in battle. Luckily for Clark, Mr. Mxyzptlk can be defeated — very much like Rumpelstiltskin — by saying his name aloud and magically banishing him back to his home dimension. He cannot return for a few weeks. Each time he does, the rules of his banishment get all the more complicated, until he has to write down his name backwards, twice. Superman finds a way. 

Superman is a superhero fantasy character, of course, but Mr. Mxyzsplk brought an additional note of comedic chaos to the proceedings. He didn't play by superhero rules. He was more of a nuisance than a villain. 

"Superman: The Animated Series" was made with a younger audience in mind, so Gottfried was not permitted to let loose with a fusillade of obscenities in Superman's face (although that would have been welcome). As such, when the villain was tricked, Gottfried only muttered, "Well, shoot my monkey." It's the funniest and dirtiest piece of non-obscenity you'll find in a superhero show.

The 1991 Emmys

"If masturbation's a crime, I should be on death row." 

Gottfried's propensity for tasteless gags got him in trouble more than once, perhaps most notably for his appearance at the 1991 Emmy awards. The show was broadcast after actor Paul Reubens had been arrested for indecent exposure, and Gottfried was not one to take the high road. His act was two straight minutes of onanism jokes before presenting the award for Best Writing on a Variety Show (the winner being the writers of the 63rd Academy Awards). 

The gags were dirty, yes, and they were made at Reubens' expense, but he was careful to turn the joke back on himself, and, really, they are downright innocuous compared to some of the filth that would become a regular installment in stand-up comedy a generation hence. Regardless, Gottfried's masturbation jokes got him blacklisted from future Emmy shows, and Fox issued an apology. Only viewers on the east coast saw Gottfried's bit. His monologue was cut entirely for the west coast. Although he was not in the public's good graces for a span, Gottfried continued to work. 

Gottfried would get in trouble again in 2011 for tweeting tasteless jokes about the tsunami in Japan. This lost Gottfried a job voicing the duck mascot for the insurance company Aflac. Gottfried knew where the line was because, very occasionally, he crossed it. We can take comfort in the fact that, by all accounts, Gottfried was a kind and decent human being off stage.

The Aristocrats

In 2005, Penn Jillette and Paul Provenza made a low-fi, notable documentary film about a dirty secret in the comedy world, and a very, very dirty joke. In it, many comedians are interviewed about their relationship to shock humor, how filthy one should be permitted to be on stage, and an industry secret that let them all blow off steam. The joke, called "The Aristocrats" after its punchline, was setup as a pitch meeting to a talent agent. The performer describes to the agent that he and his family were to go on stage and perform a series of sexual and/or scatological acts that would make the Marquis de Sade blush. It wasn't really meant to be conventionally funny, necessarily, becoming a contest to see who could gross-out whom. It was a "joke" that comedians told to one another. 

While Gottfried appears in "The Aristocrats" to tell the joke to the camera, the filmmakers also recount a time when Gottfried used the joke to a weirdly cathartic effect. During the Comedy Central roast of Hugh Hefner in 2001, Gottfried made a few tasteless gags about 9/11. The audience actively booed him. Too soon. Not only did Gottfried win the audience back, but he won them over. Gottfried broke the comedians' code and told The Aristocrats joke on stage to the chagrin and surprise of the comedians around him. Rob Schneider is seen literally falling out of his chair.

The filmmakers explain how that level of unexpected filth was a healing moment. 

A few zingers

For good measure, here are a few Gottfried zingers to remember him by: 

A man comes home to his wife and says, "Honey pack your bags I just won the lottery!" She says, "What should I pack?" He says, "I don't care just pack and get the f*** out!"

The pressure to being a comedian is being funny, but I've given that up, so there is no pressure whatsoever.

A man goes to the doctor for a check, and the doctor examines him and says "I've got bad news, you've got cancer and Alzheimer's." The man goes "Thank god I don't have cancer."

And of course, the classic: 

I'm known for my slightly inappropriate remarks. 

Rest in peace, Mr. Gottfried.