There are times for wisecracks but for Gilbert Gottfried, this wasn't one of them.
A day after drawing the ire of Aflac--which fired him from his longtime gig as voice of the insurer's duck mascot--the funnyman today offered a mea culpa for treating the catastrophe in Japan like one of his Comedy Central roasts.
Unfortunately the same remorse couldn't be said for another loudmouth. But more on Glenn Beck in a minute...
First, here's what Gottfied said today on Twitter and in an written statement to E! News:
"I sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by my attempt at humor regarding the tragedy in Japan. I meant no disrespect, and my thoughts are with the victims and their families."
The comedian earned his place in the unemployment line after poking fun at the earthquake and tsunami, tweets (which have since been deleted) like:
"Japan is really advanced. They don't go to the beach. The beach comes to them," he wrote; or "Japan called me. They said 'maybe those jokes are a hit in the US, but over here, they're all sinking.' "
The jokes infuriated his Twitter followers as well as Aflac, which earns over 75 percent of its profits from the Japanese market.
But Gottfried does have his defenders, including resident E! funnylady Joan Rivers. She tweeted today: "Oh come on people--this is just outrageous! Gilbert Gottfried was FIRED from Aflac for making jokes about the tsunami in Japan. That's what comedians do!!! We react to tragedy by making jokes to help people in tough times feel better through laughter."
While Gottfried was trying to use humor, such an excuse can't be made by Beck. The Fox News pundit is also taking heat for some cockamamie comments on his radio show Monday when he labeled the tragic disaster as a "message being sent" by God.
"I'm not saying God is causing earthquakes...I'm not not saying that either. What God does is God's business. But I'll tell you this, whether you call it Gaia or whether you call it Jesus, there's a message being sent," said Beck. "'Hey, you know that stuff we're doing. It's not really working out. Maybe we should stop doing some of it.' I'm just saying."
A rep for Beck declined to comment.
Meanwhilem per the Los Angeles Times, Hollywood studios are rejiggering their release schedules in the wake of the quake, which damaged approximately 110 theaters out of 680 nationwide, causing a 52 percent drop in business.
Japan is the most profitable territory outside the U.S., generating some $2.5 billion in revenue for studio coffers last year along thanks to such releases as Toy Story 3, Alice in Wonderland and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows--Part 1. However in light of last Friday's calamity, box-office reciepts have dipped precipitously. For instance, Walt Disney's Tangled, the only U.S. release last weekend, earned a feeble $1.75 million.
Consequently, studio bosses are taking action to mitigate future losses.
After pulling Clint Eastwood's drama, Hereafter, from Japanese screens out of sensitivity to victims (it features a scene of a devastating tsunami), Warner Bros. has postponed Anthony Hopkins' supernatural thriller The Rite, which was due to unspool this Friday.
Sony is thinking about pushing back the April 1 premiere of its sci fi war flick, Battle: Los Angeles, while execs are also considering delaying a number of upcoming summer tentpoles such as Green Lantern, Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Kung Fu Panda 2.
And the fashion world may be sad to learn that Japan's 12th annual Fashion Week in Tokyo has been canceled.
Certainly, the Japanese have more important things to worry about.