Gilbert Gottfried's 9/11 Joke (Friars Club Roast of Hugh Hefner; 2001)
|An image of Gilbert Gottfried|
On Saturday, September 29, 2001, the New York Friar's Club, an organization of comedians and celebrities known for it's "roasts", held a roast of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner. Among the comedians "roasting" Hefner was Gilbert Gottfried. During his set, he complained of it being difficult to get a flight back to New York City. Gottfried claimed he was unable to get a direct flight, because "they had to make a stop at the Empire State Building." This joke was met with boos and jeers of "too soon." Gottfried quickly launched into the infamous "Aristocrats" joke, and won the audience back.
Comedy Central aired the roast on November 4, 2001, with Gottfried's 9/11 joke and the "Aristocrats" joke excised. Footage of the joke exists, as the entire roast was filmed and edited for the Comedy Central special. Additionally, when Penn Gillette and Paul Provenza made the film The Aristocrats, they used footage of Gottfried's performance of the joke from the Friar's Club roast.
Rumors persist that Comedy Central offered to sell the footage to Gottfried for $15000, but he declined. As the joke never aired on Comedy Central, it is unlikely that footage will surface. YouTube videos of Gottfried's performance at the Friar's Club roast are invariably from the Comedy Central airing on November 4, 2001, where the joke has already been removed.