If you’re not aware, famed comedian and actor Gilbert Gottfried recently released a new podcast entitled Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast! where he and his co-host Frank Santopadre discuss old Hollywood with celebrities the likes of Dick Cavett, Larry Storch and many more. To get the scoop, we spoke with him about why he wanted to start a podcast, what he has in store for future episodes and much more!
First off, congratulations on the success of the podcast, it’s doing great. What was the catalyst for wanting to do a podcast in the first place?
Well it’s Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast and you can listen it on gilbertgottfried.com and subscribe to it on iTunes. I still am behind the times. I mean if you asked me what a podcast was, I would have a hard time telling you. I just knew that everyone else was doing them. I figured I wanted to talk about something that I had some interest in and my interest was always really old Hollywood, like old movies and TV shows and obscure facts about them and obscure actors. So I started doing that, and we got Dick Cavett because he’s interviewed John and Yoko, Groucho (Marx), Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis, and Carlo (Rizzi) from the Godfather. According to him, he’s killed three people, or at least three that he can admit too. I guess the statute of limitations has run out on those murders and if he’s lying, I’m certainly not going to say it to his face. He claims he’s had sex with Marilyn Monroe and so far Marilyn Monroe hasn’t come forth to dispute it, so I have no reason to doubt it. The Kennedy’s haven’t spoken up about it, or Joe DiMaggio.
I’ve heard both of the podcasts, and you’re really good at interviewing these people. Have you done interviews before, or have you just been a part of so many that you know how to do it?
No, I mean I realized how different the host position is. I’ve been on billions of shows being the one interviewed and I don’t know if I’ve learned anything from them, or it’s just by accident that my hosting skills sound good.
As you mentioned, there’s so many obscure little facts you dig up, do you know most of these ahead of time? What’s your research like?
A lot of them I know just because like I interviewed Sara Karloff, Boris Karloff’s daughter, and Bela Lugosi Jr., I think you can guess who his father was, and that was a case, along with a lot of cases, where I knew more than they did because I grew up on these old movies. When I was a kid, on TV was just movies during the day and I’d watch the old horror films and the old gangster films. So a lot of times, they’d either have to confirm or deny. I knew that Boris Karloff was one of the first people to help form the actors union and she confirmed that one, and I also heard a story that Frank Sinatra run into Boris Karloff at a restaurant and Boris Karloff said to him, “You know how to sing with your voice, you have to learn how to act with it.” Then they used to get together and Boris Karloff would teach acting to Frank Sinatra.
Yes, so it’s amazing stories. I interviewed Larry Storch. In the original ghostbusters, before the movie, there was this TV show, The Ghost Busters, where he was on it with his old co-star Forrest Tucker. He said that before either one was in show business; Larry Storch was in the Navy with Tony Curtis. So it’s weird how it all comes together like that.
How did your co-host Frank Santopadre get involved in the project?
Well I know him from when he was a writer on The View and we used to talk a lot and he was another one where we could just stay on the phone and talk obscure show business. I thought he’d be good especially because it’s good to have a sidekick especially when you’re at that point in the interview when you go, “I don’t know what else to say.”
Another thing, Dick Cavett mentioned that you should write a book. Have you thought about writing on obscure Hollywood history?
If Dick Cavett says it, that’s flattering. I probably could think about writing that but I don’t know who would read it.
I’m fascinated by everything you’re talking about, so this is wonderful.
Yes, but it’s like when I was talking to Boris Karloff’s daughter, I asked her about Lon Chaney Jr. and she said, “Well they only acted together once on TV.” I knew the TV show she was referring to was the episode of Route 66, “Lizard’s Leg and Owlet’s Wing”, which Peter Lorre was also on. But they had also acted together in House of Frankenstein. I remember Boris Karloff saying in an interview that I heard years ago that he played Dr. Frankenstein in that and I thought, no, he’s wrong. He played Dr. Gustav Niemann. So it’s the kind of stuff I should be ashamed that I know. When I was 5 years old, I was in school and the teacher was playing a game where she would say initials and you had to think of famous people with those initials. She would say, “G.W.” and they’d yell out, “George Washington!” and stuff like that. Then she said, “O.S.”, and me at 5 said, “Onslow Stevens!” because I just naturally assumed that everyone knew that in House of Dracula, Onslow Stevens was the doctor. So it’s really the most useless knowledge you could ever have.
So you record the whole thing in your apartment?
Yes, most of the time. A few times with Larry Storch we went over to his house. That was interesting because Larry Storch is 92 and told us he stands on his head every day for exercise, or getting the blood flowing or whatever it does. So most of the time it’s been in my apartment where I’ll have them on the phone and Dick Cavett will stop over. Sometimes, we’ll go to another place and then Gianni Russo stopped by. We got some people coming up and one might be at the Friars Club.
Anyone else you can mention besides the couple that you have already mentioned?
There were a few others I interviewed. Finally, someone who isn’t in a wheelchair, also Larry Storch wasn’t, Jeff Ross. Aside from being in comedy, he was in the Friars Club at a really early age and he started getting to know Milton Berle and Henny Youngman and people like that. We also interviewed Billy West who was on The Howard Stern Show and now he’s like every voiceover. He’s another one that I talk to and we keep popping up with ridiculous information. We interviewed the artist, Drew Friedman because he’s obsessed with old show business.
I wanted to ask too, since most fans don’t know that you’re such a big movie buff, can you tell fans more of your favorite films?
Oh god, well you know, it was funny, I did Turner Classic Movies with Robert Osborne and he was surprised. He didn’t know what I knew. The movies I picked there, and this is always hard because he asked, “Pick your four favorites,” which is impossible because there are billions of movies that I like but we got it narrowed down, at least for that show. I picked Of Mice and Men with Lon Chaney Jr. and Burgess Meredith, the original. Freaks which is such a strange and hypnotic movie that Tod Browning did. I find Freaks more eerie than Dracula. There is something nightmarish about it. Each scene, even if it’s not horror, there is something a little off. The Conversation with Gene Hackman and The Swimmer with Burt Lancaster, which is a film I saw on TV years ago and I was hypnotized by it. Burt Lancaster is a guy who realizes that all of his friends have pools and he can just go from pool to pool and swim an imaginary river to his house. That one I found hypnotic. Even Joan Rivers pops up in it at one point.
What else can fans expect to see from you? I know you have a lot of stand-up dates.
Right now I have like 5 seconds in A Million Ways to Die in the West. As far as anything coming up, you can check on www.gilbertgottfried.com, where they can also watch Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast. They can check the schedule to see if I’m going to be in anyone’s town or city to come see me.
Well thank you so much. This was a huge pleasure. Keep doing what you’re doing because the podcast is fantastic.