Gilbert Gottfried’s insensitive tweets about Japan may have been a (briefly, probably) career-derailing move, but they’ve led to something of a Cinderella story for a Minnesota father Daniel McKeague, insofar as being hired to voice a duck for insurance commercials can be considered a “Cinderella story.” After a nationwide hunt, McKeague has been selected to replace Gottfried as the Aflac duck, whose adenoidal honk of the insurer’s name reminds people that they are suitably responsible businesses with whom to invest money they might later need in case of accident or death. McKeague, who works at Minneapolis radio station KQRS, recorded an audition clip and posted it to the KQRS site, and found himself selected for the job after he proved he was “able to convey a range of emotion within the single word ‘Aflac’” and also passed “an extensive background check.”
Of course, Aflac CEO Dan Amos said he couldn’t explain why McKeague’s rendition was right for the job, saying, “It just was. Maybe it is part of the mystique of the Aflac duck.” You can judge that for yourself during McKeague’s debut—which marks the start of a one-year contract for McKeague with payment in the “low six figures”—on tonight’s episode of The Voice, and McKeague promises that he’ll be around for a long time after, given that, unlike Gottfried, he realizes that people expect more of him now. “I understand what's at stake,” McKeague said. “It is not just getting behind a microphone and screaming 'Aflac.' If you're a spokesperson you have responsibilities." Truly, today marks the beginning of a kinder, gentler regime of screaming ducks.