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Comedian and actor Gilbert Gottfried is known for his trademark squinting and screeching. He's appeared in several films and television programs.
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Gilbert Gottfried was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1955. He started his stand-up career at the age of 15, and in 1980 joined the cast of Saturday Night Live. He came to fame doing a series of memorable promo bits for MTV. Over the years he's appeared in numerous films, including Beverly Hills Cop II (1987) and The Aristocrats (2005).
"Unfortunately, I've never been mistaken as Johnny Depp."
Born February 28, 1955, in Brooklyn, New York, Gilbert Gottfried began his stand-up career at the age of 15, when he started working at small clubs around the city.
He wasn't an overnight success, but in 1980 he caught the attention of the producers at Saturday Night Live. With the well-known late-night comedy sketch show undergoing a massive overhaul, Gottfried joined the program's revamped lineup.
As Gottfried later recalled, however, his hiring almost didn't happen. "When I met with all the producers I was surprisingly a smart-ass and self-destructive," he once recalled. "They said, 'What would you say if we offered you Saturday Night Live?'" I said, 'I'd do it, but only if they fired you.'"
Unfortunately for Gottfried, his single season on SNL proved to be a huge disappointment. His appearances were rare, and at the end of the year he and the show agreed to part ways.
Still relatively unknown, Gottfried caught a huge break not long after leaving SNL, when the recently launched MTV network hired the comedian to do a series of improvised promos. The short spots were a huge hit for the fledgling network and helped put Gottfried on the radar screen of its young audience.
His next big break came courtesy of Bill Cosby, who saw the MTV spots and requested that Gottfried audition for a role on his NBC sitcom, The Cosby Show. Over the next few years Gottried made several appearances on the hit show.
In addition, Gottfried, who by now had made his screeching and squinting his trademark, regularly appeared on Late Night With David Letterman, Hollywood Squares, The Howard Stern Show and The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.
"They'd have me come in and do these bits," he said of Leno. "I'd never know until I got there. They'd dress me up as a gorilla or the Queen of England or something."
For several years he also hosted his own late-night movie show, USA Up All Night.
Beginning in the late 1980s, Gottfried's star power rose, thanks to series of smaller roles in a variety of movies. His film work includes Beverly Hills Cop II (1987), Problem Child (1990), Problem Child 2 (1991) and The Adventures of Ford Fairlane (1990). In 2005 he made an appearance in the comedy documentary The Aristocrats.
He also provided the voice for the sarcastic parrot, Lago, in Disney's animated film Aladdin (1992).
Over the years, the sometimes obnoxious Gottfried has gotten himself into hot water.
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We may all think we're comedians, but sadly, we're not. Good thing there are so many truly funny people out there to make us laugh. Some comedians use their wit and smarts to make clever jokes and poke fun, while others use their physicality and appearance to to keep us doubled over. Formats range from stand up comedy and sketch comedy to talk shows, and subjects include politics, everyday life, and the comedians themselves. Here's a look at the famous comedians who've kept us laughing over the years.
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