Here we go again, Gilbert Gottfried told a joke and someone’s upset. Sounds familiar right? Gottfried’s been in trouble a few times before (more on that below). This time, at least nobody is expecting an apology.
Gilbert appeared on the Ron and Fez Show today to talk about the incident that drove long-time member Shecky Greene to quit the Friars Club. Here’s a little history about what happened. Three days ago 88 year old comedy icon Shecky Greene walked out of a Friars Club event and tore up his membership card all because Gilbert Gottfried’s act was too dirty. He went on the Ron and Fez Show the next day to talk with Ron Bennington about why he walked out and why he won’t be going back. Greene had said he was so angry, he wanted to fight Gottfried. This reaction surprised many comedy fans who pointed out that Friars Club events have always had a reputation for pushing the envelope. The story blew up on social media, leaving everyone wanting to know one thing– what joke could be so terrible they would send a man running from the building threatening to fight Friars Club members?
For God's sake, will no one tell me what @RealGilbert 's joke was? I'm getting only half the story here!
— Billie Cassin (@BillieCassin) April 23, 2014
@RealGilbert Gilbert, is the transcript of the joke online anywhere? I must hear/read this!
— Bern-Ghazi (@melvindaletrash) April 23, 2014
Today, during Gilbert’s call to The Ron and Fez Show, he told host Ron Bennington that he is okay with the whole thing even though he referred to the fight as “the greatest feud since John Lennon and Paul McCartney.” He hasn’t taken the incident too seriously, in fact he threw more funny offensive jokes into the phone call with Bennington than most comedians put into their whole act; including multiple references to Adolf Hitler.
Like, for example — he told Bennington that when he was performing at the Friars Club event– he had no idea Shecky had stormed out on his act. When he heard the news later, he was shocked, but mostly because he had a hard time believing Shecky could get out of his chair.
If my jokes are that dirty, I can get Stephen Hawkings to walk….and with his mechanical voice he’d be going, I. Resigned. From. The. Friars. Club. Please. Cancel. My. Lunch. With. Larry. Storch. From. F. Troop.
And Gottfried had a hard time believing Shecky’s statement that the language was worse than he had ever heard in the Navy. “It’s like it’s the Good Ship Lollipop that he was the commander of!” Gilbert shouted. He added, “I dont think when we were fighting Hitler, we were like, wait, what kind of joke Red Buttons just say?”
When Bennington asked him if he was worried after Shecky threatened to throw him against a wall, Gottfried said he wasn’t losing sleep over the threats.
What I like about this is Shecky tore up his membership to the Friars Club, well he tried ten times to tear it up and then he took a nap. He’s gonna throw me against the wall? I don’t think he has the strength now to button his shirt. He couldn’t throw Gary Coleman against the wall.
He wrapped the conversation comparing himself to Hitler, after Bennington called him a sweet fun guy. “Hitler was the same way,” he said. “If you caught him when he wasn’t making a speech—nicest guy in the world.”
So what was the joke?
Gilbert isn’t saying. “I’m kind of glad that there’s no recordings,” he told Bennington this morning, “because it’s built such a mystic thing about it, that nothing could live up to it.” Looks like you’re just going to have to leave this one up to your imagination. At least for now.
But you can listen to the entire phone call to The Ron and Fez Show right here, right now.
Every ten years or so, Gottfried has made the news for something offensive. In fact, his career has been announced dead several times, over controversies. Here is a brief history of Gilbert Gottfried’s offensive comedy in the news.
1991. Masturbation Jokes at the Emmys. In 1991, after Pee-Wee Herman was arrested for masturbating in a porn theater, Gilbert made a few jokes that caused a stir. A few jokes like, “I can’t really sleep easy tonight knowing Pee Wee Herman is in prison.” And “if masturbation is a crime I should be on death row.” He also made a joke about his right hand being like superman, and how he could crush a jar of coal into a diamond. The performance became a national incident, in every paper. It seemed to be the worst thing that anyone could say on tv. A few months later Seinfeld did a whole show about masturbation and it was fine.
2001. 9/11 Jokes in New York City. In 2001, just a few days after September 11, Gottfried somehow squeezed into the headlines, after some jokes he made during the Hugh Hefner Roast. It had only been a few days after the September 11th attacks, and Gottfried literally stopped the room. Jokes like, ‘tonight I’ll be using my Muslim name, hasn bin laid’ and the real room stopper, ‘I have to leave early tonight, I have to catch a flight to LA. I couldn’t get a direct flight, we had to make a stop at the Empire State Building.’ Of course the room went silent, chairs screetching and all after that joke.
2011. The Tsunami. In 2011 Gottfried created his most famous controversy, when he posted 12 Tsunami-themed jokes only days after a devastating Tsunami killed thousands of people in Japan. This one cost him his very lucrative position as the voice of the Aflac duck, and eventually led to the insurance company replacing him with a sound-alike. Jokes like, ‘Japan is really advanced, they don’t go to the beach. The beach comes to them’ and, ‘I just split up with my girlfriend, but like the Japanese say, “They’ll be another one floating by any minute now”‘ became news across the country. But, he said, he never got a single complaint from Japan.
This time around he only seemed to offend one person, albeit a comedy legend. But then again, its only been 3 years since his last big ‘comedy crisis’ and according to the Gilbert Comedy Crisis timeline, he’s still got 7 more years before his career crashes again, so he should be okay.
You can follow Gilbert on twitter @RealGilbert and visit his website GilbertGottfried.com, and catch him on May 7th at Carolines Comedy Club on Broadway in New York City. This Friday he’ll be at Headliners in Manchester New Hampshire, and on Saturday he’ll be performing at Halligan’s in Auburn Massachusetts. The Ron and Fez Show airs weekdays from noon to 3pm eastern time on Raw Dog SiriusXM Comedy Hits 99, and you can follow the Ron and Fez Show on twitter @RonandFezSXM.