Picture it. A hunched over, whiny voice, squinty eyed guy, with a hair style that bares a striking resemblance to a freshly manicured pubic region telling racy jokes… Give up? Of course it’s the one and only Gilbert Gottfried. Well, the off color comic is losing his feathers after offending thousands on the twittersphere this weekend.
The comedian tweeted – a what people are calling “tasteless” – a number of wisecracks about the current tragedy in Japan. In response, Aflac Insurance company has canceled his contract as the voice of their mascot: The Duck. (insert “af-lack” here)
What could have enraged the company compelling them pull a stunt like this? Well, judge for yourself. Here’s one of the goodies he “floated” our way on Sunday:
@RealGilbert “I just split up with my girlfriend, but like the Japanese say, They’ll be another one floating by any minute now.”
Okay… maybe he should have waited until they at least dried off… but to lose a lucrative contract deal over a tweet? Howard Stern for one doesn’t agree. He expressed being Team Gilbert on his show this morning. Reuters writes, “When the Aflac people hired him to be the Aflac duck, they knew … this is an offensive guy, this is a guy whose humor is offensive. He’s made fun of every disaster I’ve ever heard of,” Stern said. “There’s no reason for him to be fired.”
Now this is not the first time Gottfried has pushed the timing of joke cracking in the wake of disaster. Why should this be different? Reuters report also reminds us that, “Gottfried did not lose his job when he joked two weeks after the September 11 attacks that it was hard to get a direct flight from New York to California because ‘they said they have to stop at the Empire State Building first,’ according to a New York Observer.”
Comedy is a strange thing people. Who’s to say where the line is? The only authority we have as to what is funny while keeping a level of sociological morals in tact, is the way society themselves perceive the information. One thing I’ve noticed Twitter takes away from comedians is the most important part: their voice. Delivery and the voice behind the words are sometimes what makes the joke. If people are reading quotes in their own voice, it tends to take away from the magical brilliance entertainers we’ve grown to love bring to the stage, on air, or in person. Imagine a singer tweeting their song lyrics. Probably not as good as hearing them do it.
I say, if you don’t like something somebody says online, tell them to go tweet themselves and move on. As of 1:50pm PST, @RealGilbert tweeted the following two messages: “I sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by my attempt at humor regarding the tragedy in Japan.” and “I meant no disrespect, and my thoughts are with the victims and their families.”
Feel better? See what happens when you reprimand a comedian for doing what he does best? They lose the inappropriateness, there’s less laughter in the world (which is most important during tragedy), and ultimately, we all lose.
P.S. Anybody else notice “Gottfried” looks a little like “Got fired.” Just sayin’.Tags: Aflac, fired, Gilbert Gottfried, Japan, Twitter