‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ Pays Touching Triple Tribute to Richard Lewis, Gilbert Gottfried and Aflac

Gottfried finally appeared on ‘Curb’ in last night’s episode where he was joined by a couple of old friends
‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ Pays Touching Triple Tribute to Richard Lewis, Gilbert Gottfried and Aflac

Wherever the late Richard Lewis and Gilbert Gottfried are now, we hope they’re together – and eating foie gras.

Prior to the comic and voice actor’s passing in 2022, many Curb Your Enthusiasm fans had Gottfried at the top of their lists of comedians whom they most wanted to see in a Curb Your Enthusiasm episode. Despite his proximity to the Larry David Extended Universe, Gottfried never managed to book an appearance on the sitcom during his career, though he maintained close ties to the comics who became fan-favorites on Curb. After Bob Einstein’s passing in 2019, Gottfried penned a touching eulogy to his old friend for CNN, writing of his time with Einstein, “I never laughed so hard being insulted so viciously.”

The recently deceased Lewis was another of Gottfried’s closer comedy companions, which made this brief shot in last night’s episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm so much more touching considering Lewis passed one day before Gottfried’s birthday last month. In “The Dream Scheme,” Larry’s current flame, the painter Renee Holcomb, puts on an exhibition featuring portraits of many comedians, including Lewis and Gottfried side-by-side. In his painting, Gottfried is holding what is, presumably, the Aflac duck, harking back to the days when the gleefully offensive comic was the insurance company’s voice-acting spokesperson before he blew the gig with some too-soon tweets. It’s too bad Gottfried wasn’t around to piss the internet off after Lewis’ passing, too.

For years, Gottfried was the aggressively grating voice of the Aflac mascot until 2011, when, following the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami that took the lives of around 20,000 Japanese citizens, Gottfried unleashed a dozen offensive jokes about the disaster, including one that read, “Japan is really advanced. They don’t go to the beach. The beach comes to them.” This, of course, was the expected reaction from the controversial comic who was delivering public punchlines about plane crashes just weeks after 9/11, but Aflac, which did about 75% of its business in Japan at the time, didn’t find his sense of humor too funny and quickly cut ties with Gottfried following the tweets.

Almost two years after Gottfried’s passing, David and his team found it fit to finally include him in Curb Your Enthusiasm with a cheeky nod to his past work in the insurance industry, and the acknowledgement was much appreciated by those close to Gottfried. The comedian’s widow, producer Dara Gottfried, posted a message to David and Curb on Instagram, writing of the brief tribute, “Finally, Larry David put Gilbert in Curb Your Enthusiasm. Gilbert would’ve loved this. Thank you!”

At the time of publication, the Aflac Duck has not posted any response to the scene on its social media accounts – I guess the mascot is still too salty about Gottfried's exit to quack up at the Curb mention.


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