Bobcat Goldthwait’s Life Has Changed Since Playing Zed on the 'Police Academy'

Jaimie-lee Prince
May 17, 2019
10:38 P.M.

Bobcat Goldthwait was plagued by the cop character he played on the hit comedy series "Police Academy" in the 90s. He finally managed to break away from the stigma when he got behind the camera instead of in front of it.


The comedian and director hit gold when he tapped into his ability to speak with a shrieky, guttural growl and used the unique voice to make it as a stand-up comedian in the 80s.

In 1991, Goldthwait made it to the big screen, landing the role as Zed in the classic comedy film series, "Police Academy." After the movies' stint, however, Goldthwait couldn't shake off the character, or the voice.


In an interview with IFC, Goldthwait explained that during his return to the road, he stuck to using his signature guttural growl whenever he did his thing on stage.

Eventually, Goldthwait grew weary while he was on tour. At first, he attributed it to the club owners and DJs he met, but he soon realized the cause of his annoyance.

He asked himself:

" 'Why do I still hate this?' It was really clear to me: 'Oh, I hate this character.' So, while I was on the road, I said I’m not doing it anymore."


To the anger of fans, Goldthwait abruptly stopped using his special voice. Even when fans yelled out for him to "do the voice," Goldthwait stuck to his guns.

He was relieved when he finally just performed as himself. The next step was to move away from comedy totally for a while. In the interview, Goldthwait called comics "miserable," "self-absorbed," and "self-loathing."

It's no wonder he took up an offer from Jimmy Kimmel to tape segments of "The Man Show," and later on, "The Jimmy Kimmel Show." The position was a stepping stone for Goldthwait to do what he really wanted.


He went into independent movie directing, starting in 1991's "Shakes the Clown." But it wasn't until 2006 that his work took off. "Sleeping Dogs Lie" was a bizarre romantic comedy that followed a man as he tries to digest the fact that his fiancee had oral sex with a dog.

Another film, "World's Greatest Dad," was released in 2009. It featured Robin Williams as Lance Clayton, whose son Kyle is an annoying teen despised by everyone at his school, as well as by his father.


When Kyle dies due to autoerotic asphyxiation, Lance makes it look like his son committed suicide and receives support and praise from the school and the community. Success as a writer finally enters his sights.

Goldthwait went on to work on "God Bless America" in 2012, "Willow Creek" in 2013, and "Call Me Lucky" in 2015. His latest project, "Misfits & Monsters" premiered on truTV in 2018.


Another character who made it big thanks to "Police Academy" was Charles "Bubba" Smith. The former NFL star turned actor played Moses Hightower on the series.

He acted in other roles but was best known for the comedy series. Sadly, Smith passed away from an overdose of diet pills in 2011. He also suffered from heart disease and high blood pressure before his death.

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