There's a joke Bobcat Goldthwait has made in several interviews: "I retired from acting the same time that people stopped hiring me."
As a stand-up comic, Robert Francis Goldthwait cultivated a crazed persona that included wild-man hair, a gruff and screechy voice and absurd black humor packaged in a twitchy delivery. The zany character he played onstage earned him zany movie roles in the '80s, including memorable turns in the "Police Academy" movies, "Scrooged" and "Hot to Trot," in which he received top billing alongside a talking horse who helps him invest in the stock market.
You've probably heard him do voice work since then, but Goldthwait hasn't been on screen much in the past few decades. Another joke he likes to make: "Most people probably think I'm dead."
Instead, Goldthwait has kept busy behind the camera, writing and directing small-budget indie films. He disappeared from the stage for a long time, too, but in a 2012 interview with the Onion's AV Club, Goldthwait said he returned to doing stand-up to pay the bills. It allows him to do what he wants as a director without worrying about making money.
That's resulted in some under-the-radar theatrical releases and a handful of movies you may have missed, so consider this your Bobcat Goldthwait directorial primer. Here's a look at the filmography of Bobcat, writer and director:
Shakes the Clown (1991)
The cult-hit comedy stars Goldthwait as the title character, an alcoholic party clown who gets framed for murder and goes undercover as a mime. The movie flopped at the box office, and Goldthwait didn't direct again for nearly a decade.
Sleeping Dogs Lie (2006)
Goldthwait caught a break when Jimmy Kimmel asked him to direct "The Man Show." That eventually led to a couple of different stints directing "Jimmy Kimmel Live," as well as the Comedy Central reality film "Windy City Heat." That set the stage for his return to theatrical releases: a comedy about a woman whose life falls apart after admitting to her fiance that she once performed an act of bestiality. The film debuted at the Sundance Film Festival.
World's Greatest Dad (2009)
Robin Williams stars as a father who finds his son's body after an accident involving a sex act. To avoid embarrassment, the father stages the scene so that it appears to be a suicide, and the fake suicide note he writes garners community sympathy for the once-unlikable son.
God Bless America (2011)
Joel Murray plays Frank Murdoch, an insurance salesman diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor who's fed up with American pop culture and goes on a murderous rampage targeting reality TV stars and talk radio/cable news loudmouths.
Willow Creek (2013)
Goldthwait's latest is still making the film festival rounds. Centered on a couple interested in Bigfoot lore, the movie is a suspense/thriller that mixes real-life interviews with found footage-style scenes.
By Matt Sullivan
Daily News correspondent