For those who were born in the 1970’s and earlier, Robin Williams crept into our consciousness through this little sitcom called Mork and Mindy. It used to be a staple for us family way back then. Dad and mom used to laugh at his antics and we used to wonder why. Mork, by the way, is played by Williams – as an alien. His keyword or whatever, was, “Nanoo Nanoo!”.
And then he slowly moved into the film world, most notably, though the film was not quite recognised though it was directed by ace director Robert Altman, Popeye. Yes, the same Popeye the Sailor Man. It was not much of a success…but Williams moved on.
It is hard to pinpoint what made Williams a great actor or comedian. There are various sides to him.
The TV introduced a sitcom actor. The film introduced us a comedian. The stage, most importantly, and this is where most goddam stars, superstars fail, introduced us one of the greatest improvising stand-up comedians ever.
Yes, Williams comes in the same lineage of the greats of the past, such as my beloved Groucho Marx, and the others including ….I don’t know who. Groucho’s speed with wit, lividness and ability to attack you and at the same time can only be matched by Williams. And the latter is not an “insult” comic, mind you, He mimics us on our clumsiest days, worst scenarios, terrible behaviour and most foul moments that we don’t ever want to remember…but with laughs.
Forget the movies, check out his skits through the youtube videos. He is better than the movies when he is on stage, drinking one mineral bottle after another unleashing one wisecrack after another, deadpan lines following a previous sharper one, as well as smacking your face with verbal insult and make you laugh at the same time.
If you are too lazy, try the award ceremony presentations or when he actually accepts awards…you will remember it forever.
As they say, comedy is a mask worn by sad people who don’t want to share their pathos side simply because they are not selfish. Robin Williams, like many great entertainers, held behind his dark side, because he is a selfless entertainer. He drowns his dark side in alcohol for a long time (or drugs, but I don’t want to elaborate on that). Some of these traits, many won’t understand.
To live for others is to die a little everyday. Robin Williams didn’t. He was simply called to entertain a whole bunch of other souls up there, or below, or in the middle, or anywhere…simply because of the legacy he left behind.
Never forgotten. We all love you Mr. Williams. Be in peace, but don’t rest. You are still entertaining us through your work.