An outspoken comic who once was fired as the voice of the duck mascot for insurance giant Aflac will be delaying his appearance in Ocala because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Gilbert Gottfried, a former “Saturday Night Live” cast member who also was lauded for his portrayal of business manager Sidney Bernstein in the 1987 hit movie “Beverly Hills Cop II” alongside Eddie Murphy, was scheduled to be onstage at the Reilly Arts Center on April 17. Those with tickets are encouraged to hang onto them until a new show date has been announced.
Gottfried, known as a “comedian’s comedian,” got his first big break on “SNL” in 1980. A few years later he was hired by MTV for a series of comedic promos for the new music channel, which then led to television appearances on “The Cosby Show” and “Late Night with David Letterman.”
Gottfried was lauded for his role in “Beverly Hills Cop II,” with one critic claiming that he stole the movie “with a single scene.” He also became one of the most recognizable voiceover talents, with his voice being heard in a variety of commercials, cartoons, TV shows and movies, including as the popular duck in the Aflac insurance commercials.
Gottfried is no stranger to controversy, having made a multitude of masturbation jokes during the 1991 Emmy Awards in reference to the arrest of Paul Reubens of “Pee-wee Herman” fame. He was highly criticized for making 9/11 jokes just three weeks after the terrorist attack while roasting Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner. And in March 2011 he made a series of jokes on his Twitter account about the deadly Japan earthquake and tsunami that killed at least 20,000 people. Those jokes cost him his role with Aflac, which does about 75 percent of its business in Japan.