I overheard people talking about Robin William’s death at the airport last night.
Our “gadgets” were running low. (LaGuarida, there are these amazing new inventions called “electrical outlets;” they go into the wall and…)
Arnie had enough of a charge on his phone to confirm the rumor.
I was shocked but I guess I shouldn’t have been.
The sadness in Williams’ eyes was ever present.
Some might have thought it was a manipulative gimmick, a comic seducer’s/con-man’s trick. (That “sad clown” shit will get you laid.)
Williams had a reputation as a joke thief.
While “despair” (or something like it) is the “unforgivable sin” of Catholic theology (no, it isn’t suicide…) in the comedy world, that designation belongs to joke theft — see Patton Oswalt for more — so Williams was not universally loved by other stand ups, whatever you might read this week.
Improv purists never quite embraced him, either; again, despite what you’ll read in mainstream obits, Williams’ acclaimed “spontaneity” was often well rehearsed — props to the obit writer at the NYT for that gentle but honest “apparently.”
But for now:
From the Parrot to the Genie…#RIPRobinWilliams
— Gilbert Gottfried (@RealGilbert) August 12, 2014
My mother committed suicide at 63 as well. But she wasnt nearly as funny. So long, Robin Williams. Very fucking nice guy. — Doug Stanhope (@DougStanhope) August 11, 2014
There is no way Robin Williams could have seen himself the way everyone saw him. What terribly sad and frustrating news.
— Jim Norton (@JimNorton) August 11, 2014
Not everyone was happy with this one but it was the first thing I read that finally made me tear up. (That’s probably a bad thing, come to think of it. More “performing.” More “manipulation”?)
Genie, you’re free. pic.twitter.com/WjA9QuuldD — The Academy (@TheAcademy) August 12, 2014
Maybe Williams’ sadness was an actor’s ploy, some of the time, something he discovered he could pull off in Julliard, or sooner.
But his manic energy seemed like that of someone trying to outrun and distract himself (and others) from another, darker part of himself, to get himself through another day, or night.
“There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.”
Williams had decades of sobriety but (I think he said this in his Marc Maron interview) he slipped while working in Alaska or something. When you’re away from home, sometimes you think it’s like picking your nose in the car:
“Nobody will see me…”
I never followed his career (or sobriety) that closely but got the feeling he never recovered from that “going out.”
The “duty-free” at LaGuardia is basically just a wall of booze and smokes. Hey, I guess they can say they were doing “pop-up” stores before everyone else; the South Asian kid I lent my iPod cable too (eventually a staffer let a bunch of us use the plug under their airline counter…) said it looked like a Third World airport.
Bored and early, before I’d heard about Robin Williams, I’d wandered over. To check out the perfume shelf. That’s what I told myself. After 10 seconds, the phrase “you have no business here” came to mind. I walked back to my seat.
“But there is one who has all power. That One is God. May you find Him now.”