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Bill Maher is remembering the late Gilbert Gottfried.
While visiting Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Wednesday, Maher and the late night host reflected on Gottfried, who died on Tuesday at the age of 67 from recurrent ventricular tachycardia due to type II myotonic dystrophy.
Maher noted that Gottfried was expected to appear in his New Year’s show in Hawaii, and he was looking forward to getting to know the late comedian on a more personal level.
“I’ve known him for 40 years. Never knew him well. He was a hard guy to get to know well. I mean, he was so funny and so always on,” Maher said, adding that despite spending “hundreds of hours” with Gottfried, he was always joking.
When Kimmel asked if he meant that Gottfried was one to never answer a question seriously, Maher agreed that it was “kind of that way.”
“There are people I know an hour that I feel like I know better than I knew Gilbert. But I thought, here’s the time. That’s what that Hawaii trip was for,” Maher explained. And if the “persona” continued, Maher said at least he could’ve been spending time “laughing” with the comedian.
Kimmel shared the same sentiments of Gottfried always being on and noted, “It always made me feel kind of odd when I would ask him a question, he would never give you a real answer, and in a way it felt like the message was, ‘Why would I answer this seriously when I could be funny right now?'”
Maher went on to describe Gottfried as the “king of too soon,” referencing a time when Gottfried “got into a world of trouble” after making a 9/11 joke at Hugh Hefner’s roast. Kimmel noted that he was actually hosting that roast, which was taped shortly after the tragedy, and recalled Gottfried going onstage and saying “some of the craziest stuff.”
To honor Gottfried’s legacy, Maher said he felt like he “really let him down by not being able to come up with something totally inappropriate” to joke about his death given that’s how he’d probably want everyone to handle it. But he felt good knowing that he managed to give him a shout-out during a recent airing of Real Time.
“I don’t think he was probably able to hear it,” Maher recalled of mentioning the comedian on last week’s show. “But, you know, if I was a religious person I would say, you know, he kind of knows. But I’m not, so screw that.”
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