Gilbert Gottfried, the loud comedian you may remember from his role as the loud character voice in movies like Disney’s Aladdin, has been fired as the voice actor for disability insurance provider Aflac after he joked repeatedly on his Twitter about the earthquake in Japan. Many are left wondering: Wait, Gilbert Gottfried was the Aflac duck? But it makes sense. (“Af-LAC!” Think about it.) It turns out, Japan is Aflac’s most important market, leaving its most important voice actor shit out of luck. Especially because, for a comedian, his jokes suck.
Reuters reports that Gottfried has been the duck since 2000, but declines to go into detail as to whether he updates the “Af-LAC!” for every commercial or if the company has been playing the same recording for more than 10 years. If the latter is the case, Gottfried’s life will not change very much, except the checks will stop coming. If he spends time in the studio, perfecting his catchphrase, he’ll probably miss the artistic growth involved, too.
“Gilbert’s recent comments about the crisis in Japan were lacking in humor and certainly do not represent the thoughts and feelings of anyone at Aflac,” said Aflac senior vice president and CEO Michael Zuna. “Aflac Japan — and, by extension, Japan itself — is part of the Aflac family, and there is no place for anything but compassion and concern during these difficult times.”
Gottfried’s verified Twitter account has since been cleansed of the tasteless jokes, which Reuters says “suggested Japan needed an urgent shipment of rubber ducks, though many tended toward the crude and sexual.” The one pictured above is extra unfunny.
In a statement, Aflac was sure to note “that Gilbert Gottfried is not the voice of the Aflac Duck in Japan.”
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