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9 Things to Remember About Bobcat Goldthwait

“You can’t really pick how you’re going to be remembered,” Bobcat Goldthwait said on last month’s WTF with Marc Maron podcast. “I could cure AIDS, and my obit photo is gonna be me in a uniform going WAAAAAHH!”

So what should we remember about the comedian, director, voice artist and Police Academy star? Let’s take a look.

1. He toured with Nirvana.

Kurt Cobain was a fan of Goldthwait’s comedy and invited the funnyman to be the opening act during the band’s 1993 tour. For the New Year’s Eve show, Goldthwait wore nothing but the wings depicted on the In Utero cover and, as a gratuitous substitute for the traditional ball-drop at midnight, he repelled from the top of Oakland Coliseum Arena. In 2009, former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic had a cameo working a smutty magazine stand in Goldthwait’s satire World’s Greatest Dad.

2. He directed Chappelle’s Show on Comedy Central.

In addition to directing four critically acclaimed independent films and nearly 300 episodes of Jimmy Kimmel Live, Goldthwait directed several of Chappelle’s segments, including the first-ever aired bit—a parody of a Mitsubishi commercial.

3. He was fired from Hollywood Squares.

“Nobody would call on me. One day, [a contestant] needed me to win, two squares left, and the guy called on Judd Nelson,” Goldthwait shared on stage in 2003. “I snapped: ‘It’s Tic-Tac-Toe, you f***in’ jackass!’ Cut – they yanked me out of the square. ‘Don’t swear at the contestants!’”

4. He set Jay Leno’s couch on fire.

Goldthwait made headlines after his May 9, 1994, appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, when he poured lighter fluid on the sofa and set it ablaze.

The incident came on the heels of another memorable late night performance. Goldthwait appeared on one of the final episodes of The Arsenio Hall Show and raged against the cancellation plans. He shouted obscenities, spray-painted “PARAMOUNT SUCKS” on a glass wall, and destroyed video equipment. Arsenio reluctantly put Goldthwait in a headlock before cutting to commercial.

5. But he’s not an arsonist.

“I’m not an arsonist. I’m a satirist,” Goldthwait said on an episode of Comedy Product in 1996. “If I were an arsonist, I would have been sexually aroused on The Tonight Show. Instead I was bored sh**less like the rest of America.”

6. He has a tattoo of a “Chinese symbol” on his buttock.

[Image courtesy Disaster Russ.]

7. He doesn’t really sound like that.

Bobcat got his start performing on stage with childhood friend (and now voice of SpongeBob SquarePants) Tom Kenny, as “Tomcat & Bobcat.” That’s when the vocal chords began to crack. “Here’s a guy who seemed like he just walked in off the street,” Kenny said in an interview about Bobcat. “He seemed like a mental patient who walked in off the street and grabbed the microphone and was just babbling.”

8. He’s been clean and sober for 30 years.

“I’m not a spokesperson,” he said last month. “I encourage it. Go get f***ed up.”

9. He is recognized by academe.

In 2009, Goldthwait was the keynote speaker for his daughter Tasha’s graduation ceremony at Hampshire College and offered her class sage advice based on his chaotic, yet accomplished career:

“Success is for creeps. We already reward narcissism way too much in our culture, so I’m going to tell you guys is, Do what makes you happy and be nice … The happiest I’ve ever been is when I turned away from success … and, dear god, some of you need to take a bath.”


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