In late January, Louie Anderson passed away. Fellow celebrity comedian Gilbert Gottfried tweeted a photo of himself with Louie and Bob Saget, who also died early in 2022. Gottfried expressed his sadness that two of his industry friends had passed away. The sentimentality of the tweet was not lost on me as I retweeted it from my own personal Twitter account.
Well, that tweet received many more retweets yesterday when Gilbert Gottfried also died. Looking at the photo in light of Gottfried’s death, you couldn’t help but feel sorrowful that the three comedic heavyweights in that photo were now all gone.
All three men entered my television screen as a youngster and tonight I thought I would describe the manner in which each one did.
Gilbert Gottfried – As a relatively young boy, probably 8 or 9, my sister and I would walk to a grocery store in Walla Walla to rent a couple movies. The titles? Problem Child and Problem Child 2. We loved them! Each film focused on a troublemaker boy named Junior who wreaked havoc for his adopted father, played by John Ritter. In the first movie, the adoption agent is Mr. Peabody, played by Gilbert Gottfried. In the second film, Gottfried returned but had a career change as he was now the principal of a grade school. Coincidentally, third grade Junior is enrolled into Peabody’s school. In an effort to graduate him from the school as soon as possible, Peabody promotes him to sixth grade.
The Problem Child movies introduced me to the eccentricity and uniqueness of Gilbert Gottfried. I became familiar with his very distinctive voice and character acting chops. For the longest time, whenever my sister and I would see him in other movies or television, we would refer to him as “Mr. Peabody.”
Louie Anderson – In the mid to late 1990s, Louie Anderson actually had his own animated series called Life With Louie. Along with Howie Mandel’s Bobby’s World, I watched both shows on Saturday mornings during my early childhood.
But I probably became even more acquainted with Louie Anderson during the years he hosted Family Feud. He was the person who introduced me to show. Before Steve Harvey and before Al from “Home Improvement,” Anderson handled the hosting duties and it was under his tutelage that I learned the concept and rules of the wildly popular game show.
Bob Saget – I watched Bob Saget the most growing up. Full House was a “family show” that the five of us would watch together on a weekly basis when the new episode would premiere. My brother, sister, and I would eat up the reruns that would play throughout the day during the summer.
Although not a particular fan of the show, I also watched America’s Funniest Home Videos during Saget’s tenure as host. Although I cringed through a lot of his jokes, I now understand that a lot of his material was simply what was expected of him from production.
I don’t think it is a stretch to say that these three comedic titans combined to produce millions and millions of laughs during their careers…some of them coming directly from me. Let’s remember to pray for the souls of Gilbert Gottfried, Louie Anderson, and Bob Saget. Don’t Blink.