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Gilbert Gottfried’s voice is totally normal when he isn’t performing.

It wouldn’t have mattered at all to me if Gottfried, a veteran stand-up comedian, actor and voiceover man, embodied his stage persona during our Wednesday morning phone interview and ramped up his volume to celebrity roast level because, as lucky as I have been to chat with truly great comics over the years, I’ve only interviewed a few legends. Gottfried, this week’s headliner at Goodnights Comedy Club in Raleigh, is one of them despite his claims that movie theater vendor might have been a more suitable job for him.

Wednesday was the first time in a long time I’ve been nervous before an interview, and while I was somewhat excited by the fact that I can still get anxious talking to a comedian I’ve enjoyed for years, Gottfried instantly eased any fears I might have had by providing thoughtful and funny answers to my questions. We discussed president-elect Donald Trump, who fired Gottfried during a season of “The Celebrity Apprentice,” what Gottfried was thinking when he tried stand-up for the first time at 15 years old, whether his kids liked hearing his voice in “Aladdin” and more.

Enjoy the interview, visit Gottfried’s website, follow him on Twitter, and don’t forget The Best Tweet I Can Find in Five Minutes at the end.

Tony Castleberry: As a person who has worked with Donald Trump, what kind of president do you think he will be?

Gilbert Gottfried: Um, let’s see. Well, I wasn’t expecting him to be president, and sometimes, I doubt he was expecting it. [interviewer laughs] It’s a strange time period.

TC: It is, and I think you’re right about him not expecting it. In some of the video and even the still photos I’ve seen of him since the election, it seems like he’s a bit overwhelmed, like he can’t believe it. Do you get that sense too?

GG: It does kind of seem that way. It seems like it started out as a gag that somehow blew up.

TC: Let’s hope that we all don’t blow up with him. Did you know at 15 years old that you wanted stand-up to be your career or did you just feel like trying it?

GG: I wanted show biz to be my career and what I always say is, what I had going for me back then was stupidity. [interviewer laughs] I didn’t think about the odds, like how it’s one in a few million you make any career out of it and all the rejection you’ve gotta go through all the time. When you get older, you see things in a more logical fashion so now when people tell me they want to be in show business, I think, what are you? An idiot? [Gottfried, interviewer laugh] Back then, luckily, I was an idiot.

TC: It’s blissful ignorance, you know?

GG: Oh, absolutely.

TC: Did you tell your kids you were the voice of Iago before they saw “Aladdin” or let them discover it on their own?

GG: I think I may have told them. I mean, after a while, they kind of start figuring it out.

TC: Did they think it was cool that you were a big part of the movie?

GG: I don’t know. [Gottfried laughs] I don’t know if they ever thought it was cool. I guess they were kind of interested in it.

It’s funny when you get a few years older and you’re a parent. They would watch “Aladdin” 20 times a day, and I would walk through the room going, “Hey, can you turn that crap off?” [interviewer, Gottfried laugh]

TC: Is there any show business job you haven’t done that you’d like to do?

GG: Selling popcorn at a movie theater.

TC: Really? Why is that?

GG: Number one, I feel like it’s the only thing I might be equipped for, and two, I can swipe all the candy bars that I want.

TC: [laughs] I feel like you could get that job, Gilbert. Have you applied?

GG: I’m afraid of the rejection.

TC: It always comes back to that doesn’t it?

GG: Yeah. Now that I’m older, I realize how many other people wanna sell popcorn.

TC: Very true. Approximately how many times has an audience member told you a joke after a show and have any of them been even a little bit funny?

GG: Generally they’re not, and usually within the first two words, I can guess the punchline.

TC: Does that still happen?

GG: Yeah, and sometimes, since they’re not professional comics, they’ll tell you a joke that could be said in one line that takes them an hour and a half.

Here it is, The Best Tweet I Can Find in Five Minutes:

 

 

 

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