Comedian with ties to the Valley dies

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Gilbert Gottfried, right, with fellow comedian J.J. Jimmy "Dynomite" Walker, during a Middletown news conference (c) Mid-Hudson News

NEW YORK – Comedian Gilbert Gottfried, who made his “schtick” his iconic voice, has died after a long illness. He was 67.

Gottfried was well known to the Hudson Valley, having played in Middletown and Poughkeepsie.

Gottfried at Laugh It Up in Poughkeepsie.

He was the emcee of the closing ceremonies of the Hoboken Film Festival for the five years it was held in Middletown.

In a 2016 telephone interview with Mid-Hudson News, he talked about appearing on Donald Trump’s Apprentice TV program and rumors of Trump’s presidential campaign.

“It’s funny with Trump, I’m like convinced that it started out as a publicity stunt, how celebrities will claim they are running for president and then one day, they say, ‘Oh my God, they are actually voting for me’,” he said.

“He was very funny on stage and very friendly off stage. Sorry to see he has passed,” said Middletown Mayor Joseph DeStefano.

Dan McRitchie, owner of Laugh It Up Comedy Club in Poughkeepsie was a Gottfried fan and hosted the late comedian in his club twice.  “He was an amazing talent that sold more tickets than any other comic in our seven years.  He commanded the stage as soon as he went on.  We’ve lost a comedy legend.”

Comedian Ken Krantz, a funnyman with multiple appearances at Laugh It Up, also weighed in on the passing of the legend he had shared a stage with.  “One time in the 80s Gilbert Gottfried was opening for the Bangles. Right before he went on he was reminded that the audience would be made up mostly of teenage girls and their moms and was warned against saying anything that could upset that many females. He took the note, hit the stage, and his opening line was “Hello, #$%#$, in complete disregard of the warning,” Kranz recounted.  “He was one of the best who ever did it.”

Gottfried hosted an extremely popular website titled “Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast” that is likely to be continued by his business partners.

You can listen to the entire Mid-Hudson News interview with Gilbert Gottfried here.