Gilbert Gottfried Tried to Get My Ass Kicked

Thank you for everything

Lawrence V. Lewitinn w the great one, Gilbert Gottfried. (Photo provided by the author)

My best memory of Gilbert Gottfried was when he tried to get G. Gordon Liddy to beat me up in Howard Stern’s office back. It was 1991 and I was a Howard Stern Show intern. Liddy walked in as Gilbert and I were talking. All of a sudden, Gilbert’s emotions changed to one of faux outrage.

“G. Gordon Liddy is an upstanding American and what you are saying about him is disgusting! He should kick your ass right now!”

I reminded Gilbert of this a few years ago. “I don’t remember this but that sounds about right.”

When I was in college, I booked Gilbert to play NYU. Two days before it happened, his appendix exploded. He almost died. We only sold a couple of tickets because we didn’t know how to promote it. Luckily, his agent gave us a refund.

Ahead of the scheduled show, he gave me an interview. It was done in his normal voice, which was nothing like what you heard on stage or in the movies, so it felt like a serious interview. When I went back and read the transcript, though, I had his stage voice in my head and laughed hysterically. He was a genius.

Howard Stern once called Gilbert the greatest comedic mind since Charlie Chaplin. He was right. Gottfried was definitely the most under-appreciated comic. His stuff made you feel uncomfortable for laughing as much as you did.

Do yourself a favor and track down Gilbert doing his Rabbi Farrakhan schtick on Stern. It was pure brilliance.

There will likely never be another one like Gilbert Gottfried in our lifetime. Our current popular culture hates it. The Twitter loudmouths would fume. It would take a brave soul to do what he did now. And comedy is now full of cowards. RIP, Gilbert Gottfried.

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Lawrence Lewitinn

Lawrence Lewitinn is the Managing Editor for Markets at CoinDesk. A seasoned financial journalist and a former Wall Street trader, Lewitinn is the founding editor of Book and Film Globe sister site He's also worked at CNBC, TheStreet, Yahoo, and the Observer.

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