NEWS - Gilbert Gottfried On The New Aflac Duck
Reported by Foxwolf on Mon Nov 4 2013

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.



Add a Comment

said at 2:47 AM on Sat Jun 21 2014
Well, it's YOUR FAULT YOU GOT FIRED, YOU JERK! If you had the sense, the decency to not write these mean jokes, you wouldn't have this misfortune.

You are one peculiar Pisces, aren't you?
said at 4:20 PM on Wed Jul 2 2014
@BlankSlate By the way... on a totally unrelated subject, thanks for inspiring me to watch 'Kinninkuman'.
said at 8:11 PM on Wed Nov 6 2013
 2 Shout Outs!
While I do agree with him that Alfac was being hypocritical in getting a sound-alike to voice their mascot, I don't feel sorry about the fact was he was fired. I mean, as noted, he DID make a tasteless and insensitve joke about the 2011 Japanese tsunami and IIRC, it was days after it to boot.
said at 7:53 AM on Wed Nov 6 2013
 3 Shout Outs!
Ugh, why do some "comedians" feel that have to shock people to be funny? I mean, Bill Cosby was hugely successful as a stand up comedian and his humor wasn't excessively vulgar. I can think of a handful of other comedians like that too, like Jerry Seinfeld and Ellen DeGeneres and a few not as well-known ones like Brian Regan, Jim Gaffigan, Henry Cho, and so on. Geroge Carlin's quote is dead wrong. I'm pretty sure the duty of a comedian is to make EVERYONE laugh, not a few people who aren't as offended. Yeah, Gil deserves what he got if he believes he's good for working under that silly mantra.
said at 12:20 PM on Wed Nov 6 2013
@JayGirl10 While I do think the way the Aflac company fired him only to hire some guy to sound just like him is stupid, I pretty much agree with everything you said. Making hurtful, unpleasant jokes aren't a must. Especially when it's about something that tragic.
said at 1:39 PM on Mon Nov 4 2013
Ah, don't worry, Gil. You can always track down the people who rang your Internet doorbell, or you can barricade your door so they don't ring again (block them).
said at 12:29 PM on Mon Nov 4 2013
What's behind those asterisks? I must know!
said at 1:58 PM on Mon Nov 4 2013
said at 7:35 AM on Mon Nov 4 2013
I'm not sure how to feel about this.
Music Meister (Moderator)
said at 7:06 AM on Mon Nov 4 2013
 5 Shout Outs!
I don't feel bad for him, he made a super insensitive joke and got what he deserved.
said at 12:33 PM on Mon Nov 4 2013
@Music Meister I don't think it's right for someone to get fired from a job that is unrelated for things that they did outside of the job.
Music Meister (Moderator)
said at 12:49 PM on Mon Nov 4 2013
@ninjinister I think it's wrong for an adult man to joke about an incident that caused huge damage and probably killed some people.
said at 3:55 AM on Mon Nov 4 2013
 1 Shout Out!
"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."

LOL Anyway, I think it's stupid that he got fired, and I agree that it's hypocritical of them to fire him only to get someone who can imitate him. They just wanted the publicity.
Foxwolf (Admin)
said at 8:34 AM on Mon Nov 4 2013
@PsychicVoiceSpy fyi - i added this quote and the preceding one.
said at 11:25 AM on Mon Nov 4 2013
@Foxwolf Sorry, I didn't notice.
Foxwolf (Admin)
said at 12:16 PM on Mon Nov 4 2013
@PsychicVoiceSpy actually, I meant that I added it after you quoted it coz it revelant to the whole Aflac incident.

So thanks :)
said at 6:19 PM on Mon Nov 4 2013
@Foxwolf Oh. You're welcome.
said at 10:34 AM on Fri Nov 8 2013

That, my friend, is what grown-ups call "irony". ;-)
said at 1:43 AM on Mon Nov 4 2013
Poor Gilbert. I feel sorry for him.
Support Behind The Voice Actors on Patreon
What is Patreon?