Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Robin Williams Party We Never Threw {Pt. 1}

       A lot of people are posting about Robin Williams today. There are a genuine souls who wish to say something about the guy and what he meant to them, things he did or even how they met him, some who wish to examine or explain why Robin Williams, noted whatever would do such a thing. Then, there are a lot who want to cash in on the wake a celebrity death leaves behind.

I just here for the party he should have had.

I never met Robin Williams. I sincerely wish I did; starstruck and throw uppy as it would have made me. It would have been an anecdote I would have happily written on my tombstone.

When I was a kid, Robin Williams was a staple of late night HBO comedy. Be it his stand up specials or things like "Comic Relief", Robin Williams and his live wire delivery seemed a frequent visitor to my brain.

This was how I first saw Robin Williams:


He was just amazing.

      As a kid, watching him, I was enraptured. Here was a man bounding around the stage doing comedy, as no one I'd ever seen before. Now, I watched stand-up comedy voraciously back then, partly because it came on late and it was like a forbidden fruit. Comedy specials at midnight, when I should have been sleeping. Over time it evolved into so much more.

      I digress, normally, a comedian in a suit of some kind, would stand behind a mic, say their bits, say "fuck" a few times, there would be laughter etc., etc. Yet, this guy was different. He was like a living cartoon...making jokes about drugs (adult stuff), sex (also adult stuff) and a myriad of other things (probably adult stuff), but, he was also, a lot like me. His hands flailed about elastically, moved constantly and he spoke in cartoon voices. 

      Despite playing to a crowd of adults, I felt he was on my level too. He seemed like he could entertain anyone, anywhere, any age and everyone would be right with him...all the way. He turned into my best stand-up comedy friend.

      I grew up with Robin Williams, not in the Beatlesque sense, that he was my age and we were growing up together, but, like a member of the family who was hilarious and didn't edit himself around kids. He was astounding in every way for me, my being a someone who loved comedy and it's craft work. As I got older, my views changed but, my feeling for Robin's comedy didn't. It evolved. I watched his specials, his movies, recorded onto static laced VHS tapes and a lot of these too:


Thank you, Robin.

Every year, I used to sit through every "Comic Relief", recording it for future reference, until I discovered masturbation and all of it's glory. "Comic Relief" was like Christmas for comedy nerds.

      Robin Williams was there through every twist and turn in my comedic education, so to speak. His presence introduced me to new comedians, showed me that hidden adult-ish comedy could be any and everywhere. Hidden in a zillion voiced over cartoons, shows and movies, all the while.

      Subliminally, he also taught me that despite comedy and it's delivery being an "act", a performance, no matter what it is, movie, club or cartoon, should have some heart in it. It should have a little of you in there and never be a total lie. 

      I learned that from him, regardless of him never telling me himself, because I saw it in everything he did. As over the top as he was at times, you could always recognize a real, consistent, likeable Robin Williams underneath.

      He taught me many, many things about being funny. He taught me that improvisation is an exercise in both mental dexterity and timing, but, of sharp, keen understanding as well. He could read his audience and understand what they would and wouldn't get...and he pushed them gently to get more, all the while, exuding approachability and friendliness.

The mother fucker was brilliant, what can I say?

      The man is still one of the only comedians that ever pushed me to research what in the Hell he was referencing in his material. I had to know! When he did an impression I didn't recognize or an offhand remark I didn't get, I scoured my limited resources to find out, just so I could laugh at in a new way.

He was unspeakably mad, funny and astoundingly grand.

He was also broken.

He could have used a party...but, only the right kind...

{Part 2}

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