Vehicles specifically tailored to him were not forthcoming. Gottfried had starred in a singularly awful television pilot, “Norman’s Corner,” in which he portrayed a newspaper stand owner. A pre-“Seinfeld” Larry David wrote it. When David’s name was brought to the attention of NBC executives considering “Seinfeld,” one supposedly said, “Isn’t Larry David the guy who wrote that piece of shit pilot with Gilbert Gottfried?”
Gottfried loved telling this story about how he almost killed “Seinfeld.” It is one of those possibly apocryphal anecdotes one prays is true.
But arguably Gottfried’s greatest and most lasting contribution to popular culture are the 400+ episodes of the GGACP, which he started in 2014 with co-host Frank Santopadre. Legends and old school entertainers with nothing to plug and left behind by the current crop of late-night TV talk shows they once frequented, sit for more than an hour to share irresistible stories.
Here’s just a sampling: Barbara Feldon, Larry Storch, Catwomen Lee Meriwether and Julie Newmar, Bill Persky, who co-wrote some of “The Dick Van Dyke Show’s” greatest episodes, Van Dyke himself, Janet Ann Gallow from “The Ghost of Frankenstein” (Gottfried was obsessive about Universal’s monster-verse), ventriloquist Willie Tyler and Lester, Steve Stoliar, who wrote a book, Raised Eyebrows (soon to be a major motion picture) about his years as Groucho Marx’s archivist, Frank Ferrante, whose film of his one-man stage show as Groucho Marx recently premiered on PBS (he and Gottfried memorably performed dueling Grouchos), Tony Sandler, of the singing duo Sandler & Young, Lee Grant and Mario Cantone, whose annual Christmas Show appearances were the podcast’s equivalent to Very Special Episodes.
“We call it our valentine to show business,” Santopadre told Vanity Fair in 2016. “These people gave me so much pleasure as a kid and throughout my life, really, that it gives me pleasure to give them a new forum. It’s a chance to say thanks, and to help introduce new generations to their body of work.”
It has been a particularly cruel year when it comes to comedians who have been taken from us: Bob Saget, Louis Anderson, and now Gilbert. Eerily, the three were depicted in a photo that went viral following Anderson’s death.