Kentucky Fried Chicken has taken a few big swings with its advertising campaigns over the years: Some worked—the company’s disconcerting 1967 ad featuring Colonel Sanders enduring a lie detector looks like it could’ve been directed by John Frankenheimer—and some didn’t (the less said about KFC’s 1984 rap ad, the better). In recent months, KFC has gotten a lot of mileage out of its decision to alternate comedians in the role of the late Harlan Sanders, first using Darrell Hammond, then Norm Macdonald, and now Jim Gaffigan. But there’s a new contender who wants to hold the title next, and to be fair, he does actually have an advantage: He already has the word “fried” in his name.
The idea of Gilbert Gottfried being named the next Colonel seems to have been a concept borne out of a throwaway joke for a recent KFC ad, one that centers around Col. Gaffigan grouchily bursting into an office to complain about the impending departure of Nashville Hot Chicken from the menu, only to find the words “The Next Colonel” on the wall, along with several photos of possible contenders beneath the words, among them Gottfried, Gary Busey, Artie Lange, Tim Meadows, and Michael “The Situation” Sorrentino.
Whether this is secretly an attempt at a viral campaign by KFC or simply a case of Gottfried being amused by the sight of his photo in the commercial, the man whose avian history involves voicing parrots, ducks, and the occasional “cybird” has seemingly decided that the time is right to get into the fried chicken business.
A few days ago, a Facebook page entitled “Make Gilbert Gottfried KFC’s New Colonel Sanders” suddenly materialized and declared in its inaugural post, “It’s time for Gilbert Gottfried to don the white suit, down-home accent, and full Colonel Sanders style—because when you think Southern gentry, who else seems more finger-licking hilarious?”
Although his FLQ (Finger-Lickability Quotient) score has not been gauged, rumors began swirling several days ago that David Alan Grier had been signed as the new Colonel, but if there’s any truth to these mutterings, it doesn’t seem to be stopping Gottfried. The aforementioned Facebook page recently posted a photo of the real Harland Sanders with Jerry Lewis (“Colonel Sanders already has a long, rich tradition of embracing loudmouth Jewish comedians!”), along with a shot of a miniature Colonel Sanders statue with his arms outstretched bearing the caption, “The Aristocrats!” Most recently, the page simply posted a headshot of Gottfried decked out in full Colonel Sanders garb, captioned with the words, “The struggle is finger-lickin’ real.”