Somewhere around my 27th or 28th viewing of Mrs. Doubtfire one summer, I remember my dad telling me an anecdote about Robin Williams: that he was able to walk into a room and make a joke about any object he saw. It was this super-sharp, observational humor that set him apart from other comedians and made him a success.
I’ve never been able to confirm if the story was true, but it stuck with me. I wanted to have that skill. It’s probably the reason I’ve subjected my friends to many a C+ joke, but it’s also probably the reason I take in as much as I do at any given time or in any given place. It’s definitely the reason I had any confidence in writing anything for public consumption while I was on tour. Accurate story or not, he shaped my sense of humor and the way I pay attention.
A few weeks ago, I found a To-Do list I made when I first moved to Los Angeles. I had lofty ambitions in late-night comedy (end of joke?), so the list had a bunch of things like classes to take, things to write, things to read. But at the bottom, in all caps, was:
- ROBIN WILLIAMS EXERCISE
And it’s the one thing on the list that still feels relevant.
Robin Williams has a string of movies that I’ll always hold as favorites (some of which are responsible for my biggest aspirations), but I think his greatest impact was in his legend. Salute.
Same. RIP Robin.
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