RUMFORD — Comedy legend Gilbert Gottfried headlined a sold-out night of comedy Thursday at 49 Franklin.

Comedy legend Gilbert Gottfried performs a one-night show Thursday at 49 Franklin in Rumford. Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times Buy this Photo

Getting him to appear culminated years of work by Scot and Cindy Grassette to turn a former church into a showcase for top-quality acts, including live local theater, top-notch stand-up comedy, amazing magic and incredible music.

Gottfried is an American stand-up comedian, actor and voice actor. His comedic persona features an exaggerated shrill voice and emphasis on crude humor. His numerous roles in film and television include voicing the parrot Iago in Disney’s “Aladdin”; a player in the new “Hollywood Squares”; and Kraang Subprime in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” Gottfried was also the voice of the Aflac Duck until 2011.

In the days before 190 people filed into the Fernand Room for the show, Scot Grassette was constantly asked how this small community was able to attract such a celebrity.

Grassette said it began one night after a 49 Franklin comedy show when he went to Hotel Rumford to share a couple of beers with New England headliner Rob Steen, who organizes Headliner Comedy Club.

He asked Steen, “How can we get Gilbert here.”

Mark Turcotte, left, Rob Steen, center, and Scot Grassette worked to bring comedian Gilbert Gottfried to Rumford for a show Thursday night. Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times Buy this Photo

Steen, who said he’s known Scot Grassette for years, said he had Gottfried perform in Bangor, but needed help to bring the comedy legend to Rumford, so he contacted Maine’s Mark Turcotte, who is the organizer of Maine Event Comedy and has made appearances all over Maine and up and down the East Coast.

The three worked together to make it happen.

Steen noted, “We’re competitors, but we’re friendly competitors, meaning he works for me at my club, and I work for him sometimes at his club. Then occasionally, we can work together on something. To bring in an act like Gilbert is very costly, for one night, especially so far away from the city (New York). But then when you book him for four days, it works out.”

Scot Grassette said having the right connections made this happen.

Steen then joked, “The question is how do you get Gilbert to perform in a church?”

Among the 190 people in the Fernand Room at 49 Franklin in Rumford to watch comedian Gilbert Gottfried on Thursday evening are, from left, Jackie Kilbreth, Catherine Johnson and Joanne Smith. Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times Buy this Photo

Gottfried flew into Portland from New York, and Steen drove him to Rumford.

Then on Sunday, Steen said he’ll leave Gottfried at the bus station, where he’ll take the bus home. “He’s cheap.”

Being cheap is part of a legacy of sorts with Gottfried. Scot Grassette noted, “We gave him dental floss, some super glue and a toothpick plaque!”

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