R.I.P. Gilbert Gottfried, 1955-2022

Just a few hours ago, comedy titan, Gilbert Gottfried passed away at the age of 67. Gottfried hasn’t been in full health as of recent years, but news of his departure feels like it struck out of nowhere.

When all is said and done, Gilbert should go down in comedy history as one of its truly fearless boundary pushers and innovators. His unrelenting path of dismantling any and all “sacred cows” led to, as you probably know, it hard left turn when cracking a 9/11 joke just days after the attacks on the Twin Towers, but also saw him through telling the most iconic version of The Aristocrats joke (as pristinely captured in Paul Provenza and Penn Jillette’s 2005 doc).

Gottfried has had a wide ranging career outside of those two distinctions of course (Aladdin, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon, Law & Order SVU, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver), but we have no doubt that the reverberations of comedy will really be felt in the coming days, weeks, and months. His comedic MO to joke about the things that no one should joke about at the time that no one should supposedly joke about them (remember how he lost out on his lucrative Aflac gig from joking about a tsunami in Japan?) has more influence on the art form of comedy today than probably has ever been written or thought about. It’s not a farfetched thought at all to think that Gilbert Gottfried’s daring on stage has changed comedy forever.

So, go down a Gilbert Gottfried Internet rabbit hole (you might be surprised by just how extensive his voiceover career was) and remember that comedy, especially stand-up, might not be where it is without him.