Before 2011, Gilbert Gottfried's distinctive voice gave life to the Aflac duck. However, after making an insensitve joke related to the Japanese tsunami, the actor/comedian was fired, which at the time made headlines.
The Globe And Mail caught up with Gottfried to chat about his current work and also about the infamous Aflac incident. You can read the full interview at the source link below.
The Globe And Mail: When you're not working, you don't talk in your signature squawky voice. Where does that persona come from?
Gilbert Gottfried: I've never really given any thought as to what my delivery is. It's developed over the years. To me, it's as if someone were to ask you, “Hey, the way you talk and pronounce things and move your head and walk down the street, where did that come from?” That's the way I feel about myself. It just happens.
The Globe And Mail: Regardless, it's very identifiable, perhaps even trademarkable. To that end, how do you feel about Aflac using someone who sounds like you for their commercials? It would seem to be your intellectual property.
Gilbert Gottfried: I do feel that it's wrong what they're doing. It's also very hypocritical. If they really wanted to distance themselves from me, they shouldn't be doing commercials where it sounds like me.
The Globe And Mail: The guy is basically imitating your voice, right?
Gilbert Gottfried: Yeah. They fired me, got a load of publicity and then hired a guy who can imitate my voice. Thus bringing closure to a horrible tragedy.
The Globe And Mail: You've said that your career walks the tightrope between early morning children's programming and hard-core p***ography. But you don't really walk the tightrope. You pretty much say whatever you want, not worrying about the consequences, don't you?
Gilbert Gottfried: Obviously I do. George Carlin said that it was the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and deliberately cross it. I've always felt that way.
The Globe And Mail: Carlin worked pre-Internet. Is it tougher to cross boundaries now, with everyone chirping online about being offended?
Gilbert Gottfried: Every joke now has to come with an apology at the end. It makes me sentimental about old-time lynch mobs, when people actually had to get their hands dirty. Now, with the Internet, it's a new technology that is basically ringing someone's door bell and running away.