Last night, as reported, Gilbert Gottfried‘s fans, both famous and not, took to social media to mourn the comedian’s passing. But he was applauded on Broadway, too, thanks to the cast of Disney’s Aladdin the Musical.
After the performance of the show on Tuesday evening, Don Darryl Rivera, who plays Iago, stepped forward, still in costume. “We’d like to take a moment to salute a comedy legend,” the actor began. “A funny man with an indelible voice. The man who breathed life into Iago for the animated film, Mr. Gilbert Gottfried.”
Rivera continued, “I along with five other actors worldwide have the distinct privilege to bring Iago to life on stage and I think one of the main reasons this character is who he is, is because of what Gilbert brought to the animated film: his comedy and that voice.”
The actor added, “That voice, that voice that The New York Times once said ‘sounded like a busted Cuisinart,’” drawing laughter from the audience.
Rivera recalled that he first met Gottfried after a show, remembering that “he put his arm around me, and we snapped a few photos.”
He then pulled a copy of Aladdin on VHS from his costume and revealed he’d asked Gilbert to sign it when they met.
“He signed it for me, and it’s still one of my most treasured possessions,” said Rivera, who called Gottfried “really kind and sweet, and surprisingly soft-spoken.”
Rivera closed his tribute by saying, “Mr. Gottfried, thank you for the laughs,” bringing the house down.
Gottfried died early Tuesday morning from Recurrent Ventricular Tachycardia due to Myotonic Dystrophy type II. He was 67.
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