Gilbert Gottfried/photo courtesy of the LA Times
As Bob Dylan tributes go, it had to be one of the most bizarre.
About halfway through his peformance Saturday at the New Hope Cinema Grill, Gilbert Gottfried launched into an impression of the Minnesota legend getting a haircut from Floyd the Barber, the laid-back character from "The Andy Griffith Show."
Then it got really weird.
"And now, an impression of them talking the season after Floyd had a stroke."
The bit was as politically incorrect as it comes, but it fell right in line with the rest of Gottfried's act -- and career.
The 61-year-old comic has had his shots at the big time, providing both the voice of the parrot in "Aladdin" and the duck in ads for the Aflac insurance company. But he's mostly known for ruffling feathers.
Aflac fired him after he posted jokes on Twitter about an earthquake disaster in Japan. During a roast for Hugh Hefner, he referenced the 9/11 tragedy, just three weeks after it had happened. Too soon, many believed, even at a roast.
Gottfried's past "sins" may explain his gig being relegated to the New Hope Cinema Grill, a nice enough venue with a full menu, attentive staff and decent sightlines. But a room usually reserved for showing second-run films is not Carnegie Hall. It's not even Acme Comedy Co.
If Gottfried felt slighted, he certainly didn't show it. His act ran 40 minutes, almost to the second, and was delivered by a pro who has never taken his finger off the shock button.
That's not great news for anyone who believes comedy should be served up like comfort food. Gottfried's act kicked off with a diatribe against "midgets" that makes Randy Newman's "Short People" seems like a love song. That was followed by more and more outrageous material, including musings on incest and confessions about pleasuring himself to a live production of "The Diary of Anne Frank."
For dessert, he reeled off a litany of dirty jokes, the kind that repeating could either make you a hit at the company holiday party or earn you marching orders to human resources. Choose wisely.
I expected at least a couple folks in the sold-out audience to storm out. Didn't happen. Either they were too stunned to move or truly appreciated that the outrageous can be outstanding, as long as your driver knows the territory.
Let's hope it's the latter.