Gilbert Gottfried reflects

By ROB TURBOVSKY  |  April 27, 2011

It seems like it's stuff that if we share it in private, that's okay, but if someone Tweets it, we have to be outraged to let others know that we're decent people.
That's my favorite part. I had it up on my site, and then I took it down from my site. After that, everybody started reporting it. Because, of course, if you erase something from the internet, all it means is that it's not gone, you just have to work a little more to find it. So, the news, what I love about them, they all go, "We're totally shocked and offended by these jokes that came out and hurt people, and we're going to tell you each one right this second. But, it's okay if we say it, because we're shocked by it, and we feel terrible telling you this."

The other thing that I loved was that they would refer to all of them as comments and remarks that I made. They wouldn't say jokes. Because if you say jokes, that kind of lets the air out of it. If people hear the word "joke," they'll go, "Well, it's a joke, all right. There are regular jokes, bad taste jokes, jokes about tragedies. Who cares?"

Were you surprised because in all the roasts you do, you say some horrible things and there's a bit of attention but then it's gone?
I was definitely fascinated that all of TV, radio, and the internet were shocked that the guy who did the September 11th [joke] starred in The Aristocrats, has a dirty jokes DVD, is on all the roasts, and practically lives on The Howard Stern Show, all of a sudden said something that may have been deemed in poor taste.

Was there a difference between roasts before they were televised and now? Because you have a story in here that you heard about one of the older ones, in which Jack Benny says the word "cunt," which is hard to believe.
I'm not so sure if they were dirtier before or if it's just so shocking now to realize that these guys you watched on TV could be really filthy. Like Jack Benny. And, I even heard stories about Art Linklater being obscene. It's funny, whenever I meet people from years ago, like an older performer, I'll bring up names of comedians, like Groucho Marx and Jack Benny, and the stories I'll inevitably hear are when they'll say something like "Jack Benny or George Burns said this." And it'll be something really dirty. It's just fascinating to hear it come from them.

When the roasts were weird was when it became, years ago, the Dean Martin roasts. Those were completely prepared, family-friendly roasts. The extent of the insults were saying, "Hey, that Dean Martin sure drinks a lot." Or, "Boy, that Jack Benny sure is cheap." Then, came these Friar roasts and these Comedy Central roasts, and we were allowed to be a lot of filthier and a lot meaner.

When people meet you, do they expect you to do the voice?
There's a weird thing with celebrity. People will expect certain things from me. But I realize that a lot of times I'm not that much hipper. I've never met Julia Roberts, but if I did meet her, and she didn't start bursting out in a giant giggle and showing all of her teeth and having her hair wave around, I'd go, "Why is she being that way? Why isn't she being like Julia Roberts?"

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