Robin Williams stole something from all of us — himself.
In a weird way, that’s sort of how it feels when thinking about the sudden, shocking departure from living, of Williams. For anyone who realizes the astounding talent, gifts, humour, energy and, it’s being told, his personable character, it just feels like it can’t be true or, I don’t want to think about it being true.
There are deaths of all kinds, none of them happy, but to take yourself out of it, seems like it would rank high on the saddest scale.
It’s too shocking. Robin Williams especially, totally personified energy, life, fun and laughter. It would be no exaggeration to say that he made hundreds of millions of people laugh, often, all over the world, for close to 40 years.
“One of a kind” easily comes to mind when thinking of him.
Williams’ fibre-optically fast brain wiring was like watching the fastest computer in the world make up jokes and tell them to an audience.
There was more than one time when the impression he gave was that he was wired, as in, what is the matter with him? or what is he on?
It sometimes seemed like his brain was continuously on hyper, and he could not restrain it.
Well, lucky for so many, he didn’t restrain it too much, but instead, performed and shared his brilliantly wired mind, wit and comedic abilities with the world.
His delivery was lightning quick, amazingly impromptu and unpredictable. Very few can make it up as you go, but he could.
Many years ago, after watching a standup routine of his, there was a feeling of being dazzled just by how he operated as a performer. Even if there was a script to go by, it felt like he injected material that just occurred to him.
His first appearance on “Happy Days” in 1978, could be one of the show’s most memorable episodes, when Williams’ Mork character, an alien, gave the viewing audience it’s first taste of his unique style.
An alien from a more advanced world could not have fit Williams’ style better.
His speech was rapid quick, his persona was one of being ahead of others, thought-wise, and the unusual alien words, phrases and behavioural mannerisms in the role just looked like it was made for him.
It’s hard to imagine it being pulled off so well by any other.
His natural ability to perform the hardly natural made it extra believable for acting as a character from a more advanced world.
Similarly, with “Mrs. Doubtfire.” It was reported months ago that he agreed to make a followup “Mrs. Doubtfire” movie. But now, it seems an impossible act to try and followup.
Comedienne Joy Behr said that nobody in the standup comic field wanted to follow his act, because his energy, performance and humour was electric and impossible to match. For a sequel to “Mrs. Doubtfire,” only a twin or clone, maybe, could try.
He was unique as an entertainer.
Williams was public, also, about his treatments for substance abuse and his struggles with it.
His PR representative said that recently he had been suffering from severe depression.
It will no doubt, bring more fire to society’s growing awareness and concern about depression and mental illnesses.
That’s a good thing, and there will be much more written and discussed about it.
Now he is out of the picture, but still left the world with a huge catalogue of his work, providing healthy doses of laughter.
It’s a good medicine every day, where the side-effect is smiling, laughing and making life worthwhile.
From playing doctors, singing like Elmer Fudd, acting like aliens and more, his creativity, genius and entertaining abilities were very much, out of this world.
The next time you look up at the night sky, look for the extra bright star.
Charlie Cheeseman writes from St. John’s.