On Tuesday, April 12, 2022, the comedy world lost one of its most iconic, unique, and easily recognizable voices. I am, of course, referring to the voice of Gilbert Gottfried, who passed away at the age of 67 from a rare heart condition caused by a genetic disorder.
The comedian leaves behind an exceptional legacy on the big and small screen that includes many well-known voice acting roles, such as the duck from the Aflac commercials, and many more. The following are our picks for some Gilbert Gottfried movies and TV shows to find on streaming or available for a digital rental or purchase to watch in the actor’s memory, such as his first major winged character.
The Aladdin Movies (Disney+)
An impoverished young man (Scott Weinger), with the help of a Genie (Robin Williams), wins the heart of a princess (Linda Larkin), with whom he embarks on more adventures in Arabia - including defeating the resurrected tyrant Jafar (Jonathan Freeman) and reuniting with his long-lost father (John Rhys-Davies), who turns out to be a notorious criminal.
Why it’s worth checking out in honor of Gilbert Gottfried: In a brilliant casting choice, Gilbert Gottfried leant his voice to the role of Jafar’s parrot sidekick, Iago, in Disney’s 1992, Oscar-winning animated classic, Aladdin. He would reprise the scene-stealing character in its two straight-to-video sequels (The Return of Jafar from 1994 and 1996’s Aladdin and the King of Thieves), and would have returned for the live-action remake in 2019 had they not replaced him with Alan Tudyk.
Animal Crackers (Netflix)
After becoming the owners of a rundown circus, a husband and wife (real-life couple John Krasinski and Emily Blunt) try to save it from falling under the control of an evil businessman (voiced by Sir Ian McKellan) with the use of a box of magical snacks that turn the eater into whatever animal each piece is shaped like.
Why it’s worth checking out in honor of Gilbert Gottfried: While not playing any animal characters this time, Gilbert Gottfried does, once again, voice the scene-stealing sidekick of the main villain in Animal Crackers - a funny animated film released exclusively on Netflix in 2020 with a star-studded voice cast that also includes Danny DeVito, Raven-Symone, Sylvester Stallone, and more.
Farce Of The Penguins (Google Play Rental)
A penguin with a disillusioned mind and a dirty mouth (Bob Saget) and his equally cynical and foul-mouthed friend (Lewis Black) travel a far distance in search for love in the Antarctic, which is captured by a camera crew observing the mating rituals of their species.
Why it’s worth checking out in honor of Gilbert Gottfried: Another notable instance in which Gilbert Gottfried voiced a winged animal was in 2006’s Farce of the Penguins - a filthy mockumentary that takes direct aim at the Academy Award-winning March of the Penguins by placing audio recordings of the hilarious cast (also including Norm MacDonald and Samuel L. Jackson as the Narrator) over actual nature footage, and was written / directed by Gottfried’s friend (and another beloved comedian we lost in 2022), Bob Saget.
The Problem Child Movies (Peacock Premium)
An incorrigible, troublesome, orphaned 8-year-old (Michael Oliver) wreaks havoc on his new, meek adoptive father (John Ritter) and mother (Amy Yasbeck) and, later, tries to set up his dad with a kind school nurse (Yasbeck, again) so he and his new rival-turned-friend, Trixie (Ivyann Schwann), can be brother and sister.
Why it’s worth checking out in honor of Gilbert Gottfried: Outside of the animated Aladdin trilogy, the movie franchise that Gilbert Gottfried is best known for is the Problem Child series, for which he first appears as Mr. Peabody (a.k.a. Pea Brain) in the original box office hit from 1990 as Junior’s adoption agent, and again the following year in Problem Child 2 as his school principal, much to his chagrin.
The Sharknado Movies (Amazon Prime)
A strange form of natural disaster in which man-eating aquatic beasts infest colossal cyclones returns for a fourth time in Las Vegas and then resurfaces again in various places across the globe, later forcing a chainsaw-wielding hero (Ian Ziering), his bionic wife (Tara Reid), and others to travel back in time in hopes of preventing the disaster from ever happening in the first place.
Why it’s worth checking out in honor of Gilbert Gottfried: Another guilty pleasure movie franchise that Gilbert Gottfried is well-known for is Syfy’s long, long-running Sharknado series, for which he appears as Today weather correspondent Ron McDonald in the fourth movie, 2016’s Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens, and Sharknado 5: Global Swarming the following year, and as his character’s father, Rand McDonald, in the final installment, The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time, in 2018.
Beverly Hills Cop II (Showtime)
A near-fatal attempt on Captain Andrew Bogomil’s life leads a Detroit-based detective (Eddie Murphy) to return to the Sunshine State to help his friends, Rosewood (Judge Reinhold) and Taggart (John Ashton), to investigate the matter, which leads them to uncover an international arms trafficking scheme.
Why it’s worth checking out in honor of Gilbert Gottfried: One of Gilbert Gottfried’s first major motion picture appearances was in 1987’s Beverly Hills Cop II, in which he engages in a verbal toe-to-toe with Murphy’s Axel Foley as Sidney Bernstein - an accountant to a European arms dealer that Foley is tracking, in director Tony Scott’s sequel to one of the best ‘80s movies, and funniest, too.
Look Who’s Talking Too (Tubi)
After becoming the adoptive father of a young boy named Mikey (whose inner thoughts resemble the voice of Bruce Willis), a New York City cab driver (John Travolta) and his accountant wife (Kirstie Alley) welcome their first child together - a baby girl named Julie (whose inner thoughts resemble the voice of Roseanne Barr).
Why it’s worth checking out in honor of Gilbert Gottfried: As a child’s daycare employee named Joey, Gilbert Gottfried had the honor of sharing a dance with the one and only John Travolta in 1990’s Look Who’s Talking Too - another funny sequel to another smash-hit ‘80s comedy, from director Amy Heckerling.
Are You Afraid Of The Dark? - Season 5, Episode 3 (Paramount+)
A young boy (Zachary Carlin) with an unusual fascination with death for someone his age finds himself being brought dangerously close to uncovering its mysteries when he finds a strange radio station that brings its listeners into the afterlife.
Why it’s worth checking out in honor of Gilbert Gottfried: As a radio DJ named Roy who helps lost souls crossover into the next life, Gilbert Gottfried had the honor of sharing the screen with a young Ryan Gosling (also the future Oscar nominee’s acting debut) in the third episode from the fifth season of Nickelodeon’s beloved, child-friendly horror anthology series Are You Afraid of the Dark? called “The Tale of Station 109.1.”
The Comedian (Amazon Rental)
An aging, down-and-out stand-up comic (two-time Academy Award winner Robert DeNiro) with a famous specialty for insults and an infamous reputation for violence begins to see his life and career turnaround after he meets a beautiful woman (Leslie Mann) while volunteering at a soup kitchen.
Why it’s worth checking out in honor of Gilbert Gottfried: Appearing as himself, Gilbert Gottfried had the honor of sharing the screen with screen legends like DeNiro, Harvey Keitel, and several other icons in the business of laughter, as well, in 2016’s The Comedian - a humorous, heartfelt, and even romantic story of redemption co-written by Gottfried’s friend and fellow comic Jeffrey Ross, and directed by Oscar winner, Taylor Hackford.
Some of the biggest names in comedy, Gilbert Gottfried’s wife and children, and the man himself share their thoughts and experiences about the legendary comedian’s remarkable life and career.
Why it’s worth checking out in honor of Gilbert Gottfried: If you have ever been curious of who the real Gilbert Gottfried is actually like, look no further than 2017’s aptly titled, Gilbert - an intimate, revealing, and (unsurprisingly) often quite funny look into the life of the comedian and family man from behind the scenes, from Harmontown director director Neil Berkeley.
I cannot think of a better way to close out a movie and TV binge in honor of the life of Gilbert Gottfried than with a documentary that celebrates just that.
Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.
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