He is labelled a ‘comedian’s comedian’. I am new to Gilbert Gottfried’s comedy. I first learned of it on Comedy Central Roast of David Hasselhof, and later on that of Hugh Hefner. Since then I have been zooming into his acts.
I realised I have seen him before in the movie The Problem Child where he played an adoption agent and in Aladdin as the parrot Iago.
“I have always said my career is somewhere between children’s programming and hard-core porn” Gilbert.
Some say he makes dirty and disgusting jokes. Well he has an album called Dirty Jokes.
I am a total fan of his often number 1 (iTunes) Amazing Colossal Podcast where he interviews personalities with insights into old Hollywood. It can delve into 1960’s actors and comedians.
Here are lessons I take from Gilbert Gottfried.
(1). He does not back down
Being a stand-up comedian must be one of the hardest acts in life. Making people laugh for 30 minutes plus – let alone 10 minutes – cannot be easy.
I have heard a few comedians salute Gilbert for not backing down from a hard crowd with easy jokes.
An example of going for easy jokes is in the movie Funny People where Ira (Seth Rogan) – an upcoming comedian, goes on stage after George Simmons’s (Adam Sandler) strange and dark act –a successful comedian who just discovered he has a death disease and so goes performing at small clubs to sort of say goodbye to the world. He finds it hard to crack the audience with the material he prepared; he then opts for the easy jabs by making fun of George’s surprisingly peculiar act.
(2). Self deprecation
Knowing how to take laughs from deprecating yourself is a special trait. We take ourselves seriously. Having the ability to not only laugh at ourselves but self deprecate is relieving.
“I can’t even find someone for a platonic relationship, much less the kind where someone wants to see me naked” Gili.
I always hear Gilbert take jabs at himself on the podcast: his looks, comic abilities (lack of), career (its death) and acting (terrible).
I once heard him make a joke of how Hollywood producers are liars. Some once expressed liking towards him for a movie role, which they later gave to Dustin Hoffman. The joke is, the only time his name is ever mentioned in the same sentence with Dustin Hoffman’s is when people say “I have seen Gilbert’s acting and he is no Dustin Hoffman”.
Gilbert has no acting skills or language skill or any skills. What a bunch of unceremoniously vindictive and lying Hollywood producers.
We are merely taking chances in this world, the world reacts how it wants and taking ourselves seriously all the time invites agonising disappointment.
(3). He does what he loves fully and to the end
“Find what you love and let it kill you”. Apparently Charles Bukowski said this.
Well, what Gilbert loves – comedy, has got him fired. He is still doing it. “Although now I do think twice before I say something, even though I go ahead and say it anyway” Gilbert.
He has been performing standup since he was 15 years of age. Wikipedia says he is now 61. He is still performing at nightclubs.
Don Rickles is 89 and is still performing.
Gilbert often say, his comic references were old when he started (1955 maybe?) and even today they are still of that era.
(4). Doesn’t ask for permission (pays it forward)
Standup comedy does not require much permission. You write jokes and find anywhere to perform them for free. You can bomb a couple of times, but as long as you keep practicing, you will get your swing.
Gilbert started performing at 15 doing mostly voice impersonations, obviously without pay. He has been working on it ever since, and today is he is 61.
If the clubs say no to you, there is YouTube and Facebook video. Or whatever channels that allow you to broadcast your craft.
It applies to when you are a musician or writer.
Some people go to school, study PR and wait for an employment opportunity. You do not have to wait. You can increase your employment opportunities by paying it forward, doing stuff for free. Go out solicit ‘pay it forward’ opportunities.
Paying it forward allows you to be noticed, attractive and more wanted. It gets you to a point where you give others permission to use your skills, unlike you asking for the allowance.
Maybe 4 points are not much, but I personally espouse to have these traits until old age. Doing stuff around what you love is fulfilling.
I might have learned to make dirtier, more insulting and more taboo jokes from Gilbert.
Here is my portrait of a Gilbert Gottfried inspired joke
Would you like to hear a dirty joke about a jealous toothless man?
A man is walking down the street, he trips and falls.
A toothless man and a handless man are watching him.
Before he hits the ground, he manages to stretch out his hands and balances out the fall.
Only his knees are hurt and his trouser is dirty dirty.
The toothless man laughs hard and says, “you lucky sonaofab*…, I wished you would have fell on your teeth and knocked them all out”.
The handless man starts laughing uncontrollably at the toothless man and says “let me guess, you used your teeth to balance out falls?”
What a jealous toothless man.