Gottfried returns to stand-up comedy at Raleigh's Charlie Goodnights at 8 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. both today and Saturday.
As a stand-up comedian, he has a reputation a loud voice and squinting eyes. Even he isn't sure why he squints in performance. The habit stuck, and he has become known for it.
"I guess it just sort of happened early on," he said.
His original performing style might come from the fact that Gottfried says he doesn't really have any influences. He views influences as "who you plagiarize" from and has preferred to keep his material as original as possible since he began his career as a struggling stand-up comedian.
His big break came in 1980 with a spot on "Saturday Night Live." Yet Gottfried didn't truly enjoy his time with "SNL," he said. "Seeing an episode of 'Saturday Night Live' is like seeing an issue of Playboy with a naked girl on it," he said. "'Saturday Night Live' has gone past being funny or not funny. It is now just restaurant with a good location."
But many know Gottfried best for his work on "Aladdin" as Iago the parrot. Gottfried said "Aladdin" was one of the most rewarding projects he has worked on, along with "Beverly Hills Cop 2", in which he played an accountant.
"I have liked working on films, though they are always more fun looking back on them," he said.
Recently, Gottfried has kept busy with a wide assortment of projects. He appears regularly on the "Howard Stern Radio Show" and on "Hollywood Squares" with Whoopie Goldberg, who is both the star and executive producer of the show. He says he enjoys working with Goldberg, but then of course, he would.
"If Hitler were the producer, I would like him too," he said.
Gottfried recently appeared on Comedy Central's "Son of the Beach," which he said was a good experience. In addition, he's also done stand-up for Comedy Central and was a guest for the recent Hugh Hefner roast also featured on that network. While these experiences were enjoyable, the editing done on the television programs didn't do the actual shows justice, he said.
His hectic years behind him, Gottfried prefers a slower-paced life. While eager to accept new projects, Gottfried doesn't seek them out. "If I get a phone call, then I'll be interested," he said.
And while reserved -- for Gilbert Gottfried, anyway -- when out of the spotlight, this is sure to end when he takes the stage.
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