There is no doubt your Facebook/Twitter feeds are currently full of pictures of Mrs. Doubtfire as well as Aladdin and that hilarious genie sharing a heartfelt hug.
No secret as of today, Robin Williams is dead. Social media is mourning, the only way Social media can. That’s by sharing animated gifs, frowny emoticons, and pictures of nature with inspirational quotes written in squiggly fonts.
Our favorite comment that ran across the Long Awkward Pause Facebook feed was: “Hey guess what? Other people died today too.”
Those other people did not touch as many lives as Robin Williams did. They did not make millions of people laugh like Robin Williams did. And they probably were not as hairy as Robin Williams was…
Sadly, despite this day and age of laser hair removal, when a celebrity dies you will learn all the short comings of said celebrity. There will also be no doubt that you will learn of Williams’ depression, drug use, athlete’s foot fungus and any other shortcomings that may befall any human being living on this gaseous ball of dirt and bees. There will be specials on TV, talks on CNN, articles on Huffington Post and TMZ…and they will probably all be sadly and accurately true.
The demons are always released after death. Luckily these demons are wearing clown noses and are chanting “Nanuu, Nanuu.”
But despite the things we don’t know about Williams’ everyday world, his celebrity status was about celebrating life, laughing, and going on tangents that were so mind blowing brilliantly funny that you often wondered how can a mind work that fast.
Imagine if Albert Einstein could think as fast as Robin Williams…every scientific advancement would be discovered already.
We would have flying cars!
We like to laugh at The Pause, and you like to laugh at The Pause, so let’s celebrate a little of Robin Williams, the comic genius, the good stuff:
1) Aladdin (Of Course!)
Williams, as everyone knows was a master improviser. Most of the roles he took on in films had some improvisation of his expressive mind. One of the most famous and brilliant takeovers is the Disney film, Aladdin.
Williams: Initially they came in and I was just doing the scripted lines and I asked ‘Do you mind if I try something?’ and then 18 hours of recording later, they had the genie. I just started playing, and they said “just go with it, go with it, go with it.” So I improvised the character. I think that in the end, there were something like 40 different voices that I did for that role.
You know the story, Aladdin goes from rags to riches after finding a magic lamp containing Williams’ ever most excited Genie. This movie would have been uber ho-hum without him. Williams was able to take his comic genius and make the movie fun for both kids and adults alike.
Now, imagine Nicolas Cage as the Genie instead.
Norm McDonald tweeted out a story where he was about to make his first appearance on David Letterman. He was to go on after Robin Williams, which added to the nerves. Norm was hanging out in his dressing room, alone and terrified. He was calling his friend when Robin Williams walks by the dressing room. Norm tells his friend, “Robin Williams just walked by…” and suddenly Williams appears in his room! Robin eased Norm’s fears, talked to his friend on the phone, helped Norm dress for the performance, and all while doing Robin Williams style jokes.
Norm says that not a single person witnessed this, which just goes to show you Robin generally cared. He wasn’t performing for an audience of millions…just one. One nervous comedian that needed that confidence boost.
There are several stories of Robin dressing up in scrubs and visiting his friends in the hospital pretending to be their doctor. Usually as their proctologist…of course. It didn’t matter what the alignment was, the butt doctor was here to take care of them. Sharon Osbourne and Christopher Reeve both got this “specialist” treatment. Christopher Reeve wrote a book and mentioned his visit from Williams:
Then, at an especially bleak moment, the door flew open and in hurried a squat fellow with a blue scrub hat and a yellow surgical gown and glasses, speaking in a Russian accent. He announced that he was my proctologist, and that he had to examine me immediately…it was Robin Williams…for the first time since the accident, I laughed. My old friend had helped me know that somehow I was going to be okay.
Robin founded the Windfall Foundation which raises money for charities, and most notably was one of the hosts of Comic Relief..along with Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg. In 2010 an earthquake wiped out a New Zealand city, to which Williams donated all of the proceeds from a concert performance.
Upon Robin Williams’ death, President Barack Obama was quoted:
“an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between. But he was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien – but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit. He made us laugh. He made us cry. He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most – from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalized on our own streets.”
The Staff And Contributors Of Long Awkward Pause Remembers Robin Williams:
Jack: As an actor, Robin Williams’ television and movie career is legendary, but his stand-up comedy is what really floored me. His ability to improvise instantly while also transitioning from impersonations seamlessly was amazing. His 1982 HBO stand-up special An Evening with Robin Williams is a classic example. In a pre-recorded bit before the show, Williams is outside the theater as a tabloid newspaper salesman and urges the viewer to sneak into the show because the performer (Williams himself) “doesn’t have an act, he’s just out there. Come on, let’s improvise!” His movies are wonderful but his genius was on full display on a stage in front of a live audience.
Katie: I was walking to the train after work when I got one of those annoying alerts from Twitter about what’s trending. I hate receiving notifications like that, because I like to imagine that my iPhone regards me as this super cool nonconformist who doesn’t care about what’s going on the in the world. When I saw the words “Robin,” Williams,” “dead,” and “63,” strung together, I had the same befuddled reaction you have in the parking lot when you walk up to a car you assumed to be yours based on the color, but has significantly more fast food wrappers piled up in the interior, temporarily making you wonder if someone ate a bunch of food in your car while you were away. I rushed to Google, hoping it some kind of hoax, like the time someone I went to high school with fraudulently updated Jonathan Taylor Thomas’s Wikipedia to claim that he died in 2012, but this time the rumors were true. I’m no celebrity idolater, but this one hit me. I thought of Mrs. Doubtfire, Hook, and Flubber. I thought of that scene in Good Will Hunting when Robin Williams assured Matt Damon’s character, “It’s not your fault,” and it was so powerful it felt like he was right there in your living room convincing you. I thought I had pretty well collected myself until Khloe Kardashian of all people posted a picture from Aladdin on her Instagram page with the caption, “Genie, you’re free!” and actual tears filled my eyes. He was talented, irreverent, hilarious, and larger than life–and that’s probably why his death is still such a shock. RIP Robin Williams.
Chris: As a kid, Mork from Ork was in my top five of TV Shows. I even had a Mork doll. I remember wanting the suspenders, but I couldn’t figure out how they worked. I was a dumb kid. I’m still a dumb adult, but since then I have figured out how suspenders work. My favorite Robin Williams movie as a kid was Popeye, which I think most people don’t like…but I must have watched it a million times. As an adult I really liked The Fisher King. It’s not a pure out laugh riot, and shows Robin Williams’ butt, but the marriage of Terry Gilliam’s vision and Williams’ performance is incredible. I also watched, ‘The World According To Garp’ as a young child. I didn’t understand anything that was going on, but I was memorized by Williams in this movie as well as hopefully a chance to see boobs since it was rated ‘R’.
Omawarisan: Well, yeah, this is a kick in the teeth, isn’t it? I mean certain things are just supposed to be there. The sun comes up on that side of the street. The lights come on when I hit this switch. When I see or hear the name Robin Williams, something delightful is supposed to follow.
The sun came up, I turned on the lights in the kitchen, but what happened the night before was still true. True and not at all delightful.
I’ll never be as lightning quick as he was. But my admiration for his quick wit inspires me when I write. I think Robin Williams fired out ideas, then ran after them. He wasn’t sure how some of those ideas would develop into a joke until they were out there. He followed them, saw their possibilities in our growing smiles and burnished them in flight. If I wrote like he entertained, who knows, right?
Yeah, not bloody likely, but I can dream. That’s what inspiration causes. His depression took him, but it can’t take the inspiration or joy he brought to any of us.
I hate that Robin lost his fight. I hate that depression is an often fatal disease whose treatment carries a social stigma; we can do better than that. I hate that “better than that” is going to arrive too late for Robin Williams and thousands who suffer like him.
BrainRants: In his own words: “Fly! Be free!”
singlegirlie: George Takei told me about Robin Williams’ death on Facebook. It was at the top of my news feed and I didn’t have a mirror but I’m pretty sure my face went white. My first thought was simply, “NOOOOOOOO.”
Robin Williams was not someone I thought of every day, but he certainly had an influence on my life. I remember as a kid greeting people with the Orkan handshake accompanied by “Nanu-nanu,” because obviously, I was the Dork from Ork. As a lifelong lover of comedy, I was always floored at his natural, massive gift. How could one person have so much funny? It almost wasn’t fair.
Last week my girlfriend and I were having a wine night in and decided to watch The Birdcage on Netflix. (I can never say “Madonna” without doing Robin Williams’ dance impression of her from that movie.) That night my girlfriend told me that Robin endowed a full scholarship to Julliard for one student a year. She said the only reason she knew was because Jessica Chastain, a past recipient, went to high school with her sister. It was not something that was widely publicized; Robin just wanted to give some kids an opportunity.
It is sadly ironic that the funniest people often carry the most sorrow. It is hard to believe that someone who made so many people belly laugh till they cried had such a debilitating depression. As someone who has suffered from it, I wonder what was going through his mind in the moments before he decided to take his life. Was it spontaneous or something he had been planning for weeks? Did he have a fight with his wife? Was he dismayed that his sitcom had been cancelled? Did he think nobody loved him? I suppose we’ll never know, and I guess it’s not really our business. In times like this I presume most people just think, “If only someone knew, maybe we could’ve helped him.”
I only hope that if there is a heaven or an afterlife, he can see now how deeply he was loved by millions of people — who never even met him. As the highly astute Facebook commenter said, other people died that day, and yes, those deaths are just as tragic. But Robin Williams touched so many lives and brought so much laughter to the world, it’s no wonder we all feel a grave sense of loss at his passing. Rest in peace you funny, furry man. I wish we could’ve helped you.
Chowderhead: Robin Williams was a Comedy OG. I totally agree with a lot of the other people who mentioned it that his improv was one of the greatest gifts of his. The ability to think that quickly on your toes and be that funny is a skill that you’re born with. That guy just had that gift.
When I found out about him passing it stunned me. It’s just one of those things that wasn’t supposed to happen. He was one of those actors that impacted and inspired me personally, so so so SO deeply. I’m one of those weird people that fires off one-liners mid-convo all the time, and a lot of them are courtesy of R-Dub – Mrs. Doubtfire. Such a classic – the improv scene at the liaison office? C’mon!
“We come to this planet looking for intelligent life. Oops. We made a mistake.”
“Oh you wicked, wicked man!”
The guy was so much bigger than just a comedy genius. Good Willing Hunting, What Dreams May Come, Hook, were all incredible movies. Comedy-wise, hands down, Mrs Doubtfire is my all time favorite. His stand up on Golf was superb. I’m gonna really miss him, and I’m pouring one out for my homie this weekend. A salute to that man, Robin Williams. A classic, a genius, he’ll me missed. \m/
Fearless Leader: Robin had such a memorable body of work, an Oscar,etc., but for some damn reason I shall never, ever forget “Shazbot”. Ever.
Daniel Dockery: As a child, I enjoyed the Robin Williams of Aladdin. However, I found The World According to Garp to be extremely boring. As a preteen, I finally saw Mrs. Doubtfire, and I thought it was hilarious. At the same age, I shunned Awakenings, because it made me cry. In 2006, at 17, I went to see RV with my grandmother at a $1.50 cinema. I thought it was one of the lamest things I’d ever witnessed. One Hour Photo, on the other hand, like Dead Poets Society, were masterpieces. A few years ago, I discovered World’s Greatest Dad, and fell in love with it, and discovered Old Dogs, and fell into the opposite of that. And now, I’m watching Robin Williams in What Dreams May Come, and he’s great.
Very rarely do you grow with actors, as, usually, you reach a certain point of your life where they feel particularly relevant, and then, when you leave that point, you sort of leave them behind to. It’s a testament to the immense talent of Robin Williams that you never really grew out of him. He was a man of a thousand energies, and an immense presence. When I saw RV, while I rolled my eyes, a young child behind me erupted in constant laughter. Thank you for being there, Robin. You will be missed.
Blogdramedy: When I read late Monday about the death of Robin Williams, I felt sick. I couldn’t stop thinking about him or about how he died. It took me hours to fall asleep. I never knew the man. Imagine what he family and friends are experiencing. So tragic. I feel lost.Robin Williams. He was intense. Brilliant. Driven. Creative. For me, he was at his best in movies like “Good Morning, Vietnam” and “The Fisher King.” But my favorite role was when he played Chris Nielsen in “When Dreams May Come.” Chris lost his two children in a car crash. He and his wife, Annie, struggle to find a way through the pain but when Chris is killed in another car accident, Annie is lost. And it’s Chris who finds her and brings her back “home.” Throughout the movie, Robin Williams brought everything he had to the character of Chris. This movie is one of my top ten films. Because of Robin Williams.
Amy Reese: I’ll never forget one of his first stand up routines, Live at the Roxy (1978). I know, I’m dating myself. I had four older brothers and sisters so I got to watch things all kinds of things. I guess I was only 11 at the time! I’ll never forget his “Death of Sperm Ballet” when he put on this black beret (see video at the 18:30 mark). My sister and I laughed for hours over this! And then when the show was over, the audience clapped and clapped. They had no intention of leaving until he came back out. I knew I just witnessed an amazing, incredible talent. “Dead Poets Society” is one of my all-time favorite movies. All of it.
What is your favorite Robin Williams movie or moment?