The James Dean of Eastern Europe. Killer looks, and he was murder with a pen and paper, too.
Who is this guy?
Robin Williams was the first comedian I ever loved. Thursday, September 18, 1978, my dad turned on the pilot episode of Mork & Mindy. I was 6, my brother was 3. We laughed our asses off, even though I probably didn’t actually understand half the jokes. It became our Thursday night ritual, despite the fact that my mom, working late at a nearby hair salon, never made it home in time to catch it. (This was in the days before VCRs, or DVRs; Mom was always bummed she missed out.) A few years later I put my father’s LP of Williams’ first live album, reality… what a concept, on the turntable and proceeded to listen to it over and over again, even though (again) I didn’t understand half the jokes. That was okay. I’d get them later. Even at that young age, I was in awe of a brain that moved that quickly. Not long after, Williams starred in Popeye. Not exactly Robert Altman’s most shining moment, most critics would say, but I didn’t give a shit. My parents’ friends were the first people we knew to own a VCR, and one night we gathered in their living room to watch a rented copy of Popeye. I loved it. I played the 45 of “I Yam What I Yam” nonstop. So many great films followed, especially Good Morning, Vietnam, Dead Poets’ Society, and Dead Again, but what I loved most about Robin Williams was his lightning-speed mind. His jokes weren’t merely funny; they were a force of nature, and you couldn’t help but get swept up in them. Rest in peace, Robin Williams. I hope you know how much joy you brought to so many of us.