Robin Williams: Timmy Remembers
Earlier this week when Robin Williams passed, a coworker commented that I should write a post, how his passing has affected me from a "comedian's" perspective. I was honored and saddened. First, because I've never really thought of myself as a comedian. I just like to make people laugh and hopefully have a better day because of it. And second because Robin was in such a league of his own that I never thought I'd ever be in the same category as him ... "comedian."
I then thought about this, and as the days went on and on, I, like most of you, saw the different comments and updates. Some very newsworthy, heartfelt an understanding. Some that I will admit made me laugh out loud when I heard them.
While driving I heard a news report on FOX about how Robin was "fully clothed." GOOD, no autoerotic asphyxiation, or as some people call it, a "David Carradine." Then you get the other side of the coin dealing with trolls, haters and dumbass people (celeb and non) who think their opinions matter.
Do I think my opinion matters? Nope. But I do know as I write this it's helping me not be so sad, so I'm looking at this as a type of therapy.
For the people who say he was a coward and selfish, you have never been in his shoes. You do not know what was going through his mind at the end, and have no right to pass judgment on him or his family. Coward? Have you ever gone to a country DURING wartime in order to make the troops laugh? Selfish? Have you visited children who are very sick just in hopes of putting a smile on their faces?
One thought that keeps coming back to my mind is how fast Robin's mind was. We've seen him on stage, either in stand-up comedy or TV interviews, but the man was rapid fire. A great mind! That can also be a curse.
I know after a night of doing improv comedy I will come home and try to go to bed, and toss and turn for hours because I cannot shut my brain off. I can't comprehend the sheer scope of the awesome mind that sat above Robin's eyes and below his hair. Heck, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote in his Sherlock Holmes books how Holmes could not shut his brain off, and that it led to stints of depression as well as use of cocaine when he was not on a case. In fiction and reality ... great minds.
It has been said in comedy that tragedy makes comedy. Steve Martin has said how you have to have something haunting happen to you in order to actually be a comedian (I paraphrased). That is very true. There's a reason that the stage and comedy can be symbolized with those two masks, Comedy and Tragedy.
We have all heard (and remember) the stories of Robin and battles with addiction and depression. I was so pleased to hear that his sobriety was still intact at the time of his passing. I really laugh when people talk about "Mork and Mindy" and "Nanu Nanu" because on his 2002 Live comedy album he states that he does this (stand-up comedy) to try to forget about that. Yes, that gave him his start of fame, but I'm sure after over 30 years of it, it can get pretty annoying.
Here's where I'm going to lose some of my "Williams Cred"... I've never seen "Mork and Mindy." It was before my time, and as much as I love everything about Robin Williams (even his movies that were meh -- "Night Listener," "RV"), when I heard him say what he did about "Nanu Nanu" on the live CD I own, I decided, "Well, if he's not happy with it, I won't watch it."
Plus, I must say a lot of my generation and the younger ones have no clue who Mork the alien was. They will never know that part of great comedy. That's OK. Luckily Robin had so much more that he gave us.
My first introduction was of him in the movie "Popeye." Yes, that one was before my time, too, but thanks to the cartoon and a mom who loved Robin Williams as well, she made sure I watched it. Then of course "Hook," "Aladdin," "Mrs. Doubtfire," "Jumanji" and "Night at the Museum" and others made us laugh and love him.
In school they made us watch "Dead Poets Society," which was my first real glimpse into what an amazing actor he was. And you can't forget "Good Will Hunting" and "Patch Adams."
My wife asked me what my favorite movie of his is, and I thought about it for a whole three second before I blurted out "Death To Smoochy." It is not for kids, but if you want a great laugh about the dark side of children's entertainment, i.e. "Barney" and "Teletubbies," check that movie out.
When it comes down to it, how do I feel? The same as a lot of people. Very sad. I've cried. Been bummed and a little depressed. Luckily, the show of love and support from my wife and friends has helped me smile -- along with the great memories, jokes and the genuine, great heart of a man we miss.
The Youtube clip at the beginning of this post is Robin talking about heaven, and yep, I agree, between Rodney Dangerfield, George Burns, Bob Hope and too many other comedians to list, there is one heck of a laugh riot thundering in the skies. And one day I hope to have a front-row seat.