Late Night Video — Robin Williams, RIP

Filed in Open Thread by on August 11, 2014

I’m really stunned at this evening’s news that Robin Williams died today, apparently of suicide. Many years ago I saw him in a Kansas City club — the second show. He was on a tear, and the audience was falling off of their chairs laughing. By the time they got to the club’s closing time, Williams had a ton of energy and the audience was game to stay — so the owner closed the club, charged people $5 or something (so he could claim it was a private club since he was keeping the bar open) and Williams went on for at least two hours more. And it was really interactive too — not only was he conversing with patrons (and then riffing off of the conversations), but he took suggestions for routines. Mostly from Shakespeare. It was utterly hysterical and really smart — you could tell that he knew the work he was riffing off of. I can’t imagine what he has been experiencing, but I know depression can be brutal. Even if you are someone that the world loved so very much.


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"You don't make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas." -Shirley Chisholm

Comments (9)

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  1. Such a shame. He was such a versatile actor. I can’t imagine what it’s like to feel so bad that suicide is the only option. If you feel this way, take the time to reach out to someone, anyone, and get help.

  2. puck says:

    Williams’s performance often dropped to a breathless mutter, and frankly I couldn’t hear half of what he said. But the other half was very funny. I guess his mind was making connections faster than he could speak them. Or maybe it all sounded fine to him.

    He seemed like someone who had matured and got his act together later in life, but I am continually amazed by the lifelong power of depression and addiction.

  3. Dorian Gray says:

    He developed a very unique stage act. Let’s not forget he was an incredible film actor as well. Academy Award winner. I think his performance in One Hour Photo is very underrated. The Big White, Insomnia, The Birdcage…

    Depression is a real fucking kick in the balls. A true killer…

  4. cassandra m says:

    A great remembrance from Matt Zoller Seitz: A Constant Quality: Robin Williams, 1951-2014

  5. Aint's Taking it Any More says:

    News stories rarely shock me anymore. The news of his death did.

    Maybe some day we’ll devote the kind of money and resources we spend on wars to fund mental health research.

  6. Another Mike says:

    Saw him in college many years ago, shortly before “Good Morning, Vietnam” came out. He was amazing. He asked the audience to name a subject, and he would do 5 minutes on that topic. Topical, funny, insightful. He was a genius.

  7. cassandra m says:

    NPR’s Fresh Air is repeating an interview with Williams from 2006 right now.

  8. bamboozer says:

    Depression is bad, really bad and it’s epidemic among performers of all sorts. I’ve been in bands where we joked it was a depression support group because most members had it and were on meds. I know Williams had battled drugs and depression for decades, the two sort of go together in a somewhat evil way. Too bad he’s gone, I’m sure he had more to create and do.