Money Q&A with Gilbert Gottfried

Gilbert Gottfried
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Gilbert Gottfried

Over the course of a career spanning more than 30 years, Gilbert Gottfried has made his mark as a voiceover artist in films such as "Aladdin" and as a comedian who revels in the risque material of films such as "The Aristocrats."

He's even been in the spotlight for controversy: He was fired as the voice of the Aflac duck for a series of jokes he tweeted about the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Now, Gottfried adds "author" to the list, with the release of his first book, "Rubber Balls and Liquor."

How did you support yourself back in your struggling comedian days?

I had a lot of very crappy jobs — messenger jobs, mailroom jobs. I had a job for some company that used to put out anti-burglary kits. There was a metal pencil they gave you to scratch your code number into your valuables, and they wanted to see if the pencils worked. So I had a glass ashtray and a pile of these pencils, and the ones that would scratch the glass ashtray I put in the "good" pile, and the ones that didn't I would put in the "bad" pile. The best part was — on these kits, it said, "tested by skilled craftsmen."

Now that you're successful, what are you most likely to splurge on?

Here's the problem. Having kids, you gotta spend money whether you want to or not. If it were up to me, on my own, I'd still be walking 20 blocks to get a slice of pizza that's 10 cents cheaper. I'm still in that mindset. I'm not one of those people who could show you my collection of vintage cars.

Don't you have a reputation in the comedy community as being tight with your money?

I did have that reputation among comics — and among store owners. Anyone I had any money transactions with definitely will remember me.

So has there been anything where you said, "I really want this, this is for me," and just really splurged?

Wow. I don't think so. I may have gotten something for $1.99 that I really wanted to get for 98 cents, but thought, oh, screw it. You only live once.

You were recently dropped as the spokesman for Aflac because of a joke you made about Japan. How has that loss affected you?

It's a strange time period. When it first was announced, I had reporters outside my door. I've never experienced that before.

Judging from reactions throughout the Internet, the public seems firmly on your side on this. Has this support led to anything that will, it is hoped, help make up for the financial loss?

Hopefully. Sometimes I look at all the support in the emails and think, now if each one of them could just send me $2 along with their words of support ... (laughs) ... so maybe I'll suggest that.