There’s two particular rules I keep in my stand-up philosophies, and the first is there’s no rules and the second is, break all the rules, and if there was any performer that could make sense of that stupidity it was Robin Williams.
I really need to get a deeper feeling of the history of stand up, but from my perspective, Robin Williams, could very well be the Godfather of alternative comedy as we know it.
Who made people laugh by mumbling before Robin?
He was desperate for a laugh, like a junkie. Manic about laughter. Hungry. He would get his laughs at all costs.
To me, that’s a true comedian.
Comedians are addicted to making people laugh.
It’s my opinion as well, and I could be wrong here, but I believe that Robin Williams was the first guy to not only kill, but to destroy rooms.
He killed on an unseen level. On a unique level.
I personally cannot stand to hear the word kill in a stand-up comedy context.
“Dude, Bill totally killed last night.”
“Man, you killed it.”
I’ve never killed it. NEVER.
Because if you ever see a comedian truly kill it, you can’t say that word as much anymore.
That word should be reserved for the very very very few comedians who can literally cause people to almost die from lack of breath.
This type of comedy can only be seen live, in person, and it can only be experienced, in my opinion, on certain days, at certain clubs, by certain people.
Like, the time I saw Chris D’elia at the Laugh Factory and for 20 minutes I was wondering if I was literally gonna pee in my pants. I couldn’t figure out what made this guy so funny. Like, piss your pants funny. The crowd was in a frenzy, like a riot was going on. Knee slappin, wheezing, and all that.
Robin invented that style of destroying.
He was one of the innovators, if not the sole innovator, of high-energy, full-contact, blow-the-fucking-lid-off-the-room-comedy.
Watch some old Robin Williams and then tell me you can teach that shit to people?
Shame on anyone running those shitty improv classes. What an insult to true improvisers like Robin Williams.
Movies and television aside, Robin Williams is a legend.
He played an alien on TV because he was truly an alien.
His stand up. MY GOD. Out of this world!
If you talk to anyone who saw Robin Williams in a small room, like the Comedy Store, whether it was 1978 or 1988 or even 2008, the stories are all the same. THIS GUY WENT MENTAL. Dripping with sweat, squeezing the lemon, until there was a room full of lemonade. Not stopping until every single person in the room was neck-deep in lemonade, asking themselves,
“Did this guy just make that much fucking lemonade from one fucking lemon?”
HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?
That’s what you should be thinking when a comic kills.
HOW IS THIS EVEN POSSIBLE? No human should be able to do this.
If you understand what a comic is doing, then he’s not killing. If there’s not layer upon layer upon layer to his performance. If there’s not nuances of art and sprinkles of theatrics and roller-coaster-like waves of stupidity and brilliance, mixed with the perfect amount of slapstick, he ain’t killin.
Nope. He’s having a good set. He’s a good writer. He’s a good performer.
But he’s not killing.
Not unless people are waving their arms, begging him to stop with, tear-filled eyes, crying in joyous pain.
And if he is killing like that, ask him who inspired him to those levels of comedy genius.
Bet he says ROBIN WILLIAMS.
Robin Williams will be missed, but I smile knowing that Robin Williams brought more tears of joy and happiness than these few days of sorrowful tears could ever amount to.
Fly on, Robin Williams. Nanu Nanu.