Wednesday, August 13, 2014

To one of the greatest comics who ever lived...

My dear readers, I know that you were enjoying my obsession with videos, but I don't have the heart to actually speak about this. Yesterday, Robin Williams was found dead. Preliminary investigations reveal that it was suicide. Even though, I know he would never do something like this, I find myself hoping that this is some kind of prank. That Mr. Williams will suddenly pop up out of nowhere, and everything will be cool again.  I can not even BEGIN to  imagine the kind of pain his family must be going through right now.  My thoughts and prayers go to them. I wish them all the best. 

There have been a lot of celebrity deaths and a great deal of media coverage for some of them. For the most part, those deaths were simply a curiosity for me. For some reason, the death of Robin Williams has hit me a lot harder than the others. (Even the news of Lauren Bacall's death today didn't affect me beyond intellectual curiosity.) A friend of mine suggested that it was because I grew up watching Robin Williams, but I also grew up with Michael Jackson & Whitney Houston and their deaths left me unaffected.


But with the death of Mr. Williams, I find myself randomly tearing up. Honestly, it feels like a friend died. I remember the first movie in which I saw him: Popeye. It wasn't a great movie (mostly because Popeye isn't really a strong enough story to support a feature film), but he was awesome and incredibly funny. I didn't watch every single project he was a part of, but in every single one of the projects I did see, he made me laugh. No matter what mood I was in, no matter what was going on, he made me laugh. In fact, the only person who made me laugh more than Robin Williams, was George Carlin. (Who, incidentally, was a close friend of Mr. Williams, as far as I know.) Even watching him in interviews was funny.

The best part is when Mr. Williams would break seasoned veterans. People who have years of experience controlling themselves with raucous, chaotic guests are reduced to helpless laughter with one off kilter remark. I can just imagine the inhabitants of Heaven falling victim to Mr. William's brand of humor. Archangels not being able to breathe, cherubim rolling on the floor, and seraphim with tears in their eyes. Mr. Williams did the same thing to people in an interview he did on Inside The Actor's Studio. (One lady attending the interview had to be taken to the hospital due to almost passing out from laughing so much.)

Of all his projects, the film that most appeals to me is Good Morning, Vietnam. Adrian Cronauer was the role Mr. Williams was born to play. You can't be as funny as Robin Williams without having a deep empathy for people and in GMV, he was able to show the type of chaotic humor that was his trademark and the kind of warmth and emotional depth that allows him to be funny. And, as a side bonus, we got a brilliant display of the effect that he has on his audience.

It is a great tragedy that for all the humor he brought into the world, for all the troubles he kept at bay for all the people who enjoyed his work, for all the love he elicited out of his family, friends, and his audience,  he was never able to fully overcome the demons inside himself. Yesterday, a person I've never met, but whom I considered a friend, died. It's only been a day and I already miss him terribly.

Interestingly enough, despite Good Morning, Vietnam being my favorite film of his, my favorite role is the one where he portrayed the ultimate friend: the Genie from Aladdin. We'll never again have a friend like you, Mr Williams. Rest In Peace.

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