We know him from Aflac. We know him from Aladdin. And we know him from his terribly hilarious jokes.
But most of all, we know his voice, and it’s not until you’ve seen Gilbert that you get to find out what he actually sounds like. Gilbert Gottfried is of course we’re talking about– the comedy legend who went from small boy in Brooklyn to unconventional Disney character to podcast host. With his controversial jokes in check, Gottfried wows audiences… well, by being himself in the new documentary, Gilbert.
Directed by Neil Berkeley, Gottfried shows the world his family side, his personal life exploited and shown to the world. He isn’t the biggest fan of having this side of him revealed, rather hoping that he can go through life being Joe the Plumber. He’s great for conversation, but as Berkeley discovered, he’s notoriously hard to work with. We got the chance to interview the two at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, and we asked how Berkeley gained his trust.
“I didn’t gain it immediately. I lived in LA but I moved to Tribeca and I would just go to his house everyday with my camera and hit record and tell him to talk to me.” Berkeley continued, “And eventually, he started to open up and trusted me. And I think he knows my name. I’m not sure.”
Gottfried had a completely sarcastic response to working with Berkeley.
“It was so much fun. It was a real learning experience. He’s so nice. He was just the most wonderful filmmaker I’ve ever worked with this.”
Gottfried is a different person at home. Not only does he revert to a loving husband and father, but he still maintains his comedic chops. In fact, he wishes that he could act more like that in films.
“I’m happy if I’m like Joe the Plumber in a movie or a TV show.” Gottfried explained, “I don’t want to be myself. That’s so painful to watch myself.”
When it came down to choosing what to include, Berkeley said,
“He never told me what to do or how to do it. He actually just watched it about a few weeks ago for the first time. But there are things in his life from his career that we knew we had to put in there. But we started editing while I was still shooting so there was always some sort of reveal and the story’s changed a lot before we finished because something new would always come up.”
To end, Gottfried hysterically said that filming with Berkeley “was in some ways like a therapy session. Not that it helped me. But I revealed stuff. Well I was arrested a few times for revealing things in public—my lawyer told me not to talk about it.”
You can watch the hilarious interviews below.