Gilbert Gottfried | Zanies | Stand-Up | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: Thu., Nov. 20 2014
Price: $25 plus two-drink minimum

With a loudmouth voice as subtle as a chorus of chain saws gnawing through a monster-truck tire—which is, coincidentally, a pretty decent description of its timbre—comedian and actor Gilbert Gottfried has long had success lending his pipes to cartoon characters. His embodiment of Iago, Jafar's hotheaded parrot sidekick in Aladdin, probably remains his most notable voice-acting role ("Look at this. I'm so ticked off I'm molting"). By no stretch, however, is Gottfried's voice used only for good. While it might translate as colorful and uproarious in a family-friendly Disney film, it'll sound abrasive and derisive when spouting absolute filth and malice in jokes that would make Caligula blush. Those are Gottfried's bread and butter: the inappropriate and the outrageous. That's when he hums. The proof is in the Comedy Central Roasts, in which Gottfried is a regular participant, annihilating easy-target celebrities like David Hasselhoff, Bob Saget, and the late Joan Rivers, with whom he shared a fictional sexcapade that he riffs about in excruciating, gruesome detail. He's poetic in his takedowns, his signature squint staring straight into the camera as he taunts comedy with how far he'll push a joke, and push a crowd. (His roast of Hugh Hefner in 2001 included a 9/11 joke that prompted a "Too soon!" cry from the audience.) And the yelling only makes it funnier, because it adds shock value. No matter how raw or gross Gottfried's punch lines get, the over-the-top production of the joke is more hilarious than its reveal. It's like watching the man behind the curtain burn the curtain to the ground and then take a piss on it. For further proof, please track down the YouTube video of Gottfried's rendition of the infamous "the Aristocrats" joke from the 2005 movie of the same name. There are more references to fisting in his five-minute-plus version than should be legally allowed in a comic's lifetime. —Kevin Warwick

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