You ain’t never had a friend like me

Robin Williams has left the building. I looked on Facebook this morning and saw all my friends in their 20’s and 30’s posting their mournings. These were not celebrity mournings of ‘RIP Robin’ or ‘so sad’ but hurting messages of disbelief. We’d lost someone we knew intimately for 30 years of our life.

I read ‘I can’t face this morning’ and ‘No no no no please say its not true’.

I believed each one.

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I also felt shattered. I felt numb. I couldn’t find my words. So I called my dad. When i mentioned the news he told me he found out this morning also. One of his colleagues in her 50’s came in to work and broke into tears. It nearly put dad, a grown man of 68, into tears too.

Robin Williams wasn’t some people’s comedian. He was everyone’s friend. You loved him. Your dad loved him. Your gran probably loved him. For me he was the actor we could all watch together. He was crazy Good Morning Vietnam character I saw with dad when I was 7. I didn’t understand him then but I loved him. He was the middle age stand up comic I saw with dad when I was 29. I had moved on from his jokes, but god I loved him.

Robin Williams was simply the funniest and the most ridiculous human being on the planet.

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Robin Williams in 1978

But even when he was off the wall, Un-PC and sometimes filthy, he was someone who spread joy to everyone else. Everyone. It was no secret he had his own issues for decades, but as soon as the camera light flicked on his rubbery face contorted, his voice squeezed into one of 1000 characters and his manic one man show began. Whether you enjoyed Patch Adams or Bicennential Man or not (you didn’t) – you still loved Robin.

Sometimes his personally was too big. He stole Aladdin and forever put the ‘celebrity star’ firmly into animations (Now every Pixar film needs a celebrity, not a great thing). He put out mediocre films for a paycheck. They’re only vaguely watchable only because of the glint in his eye and the joke you knew was coming.

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He wasn’t always the comedian but that didn’t stop that blissful feeling he gave you He could play a therapist helping good Will Hunting, or a teacher opening the eyes of the boys of the Dead Poet Society. In every role he was the bringer of hope. To people on both sides of the screen.

In every role, every interview and every little thing he did, he gave.

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There’s one image I can’t shake of him in my mind. It’s the amalgamation of every red carpet event I ever saw over the last 20 years. One by one celebrities dutifully deliver carefully scripted pleasantries to a lackluster interviewer. T

Then Robin appears side stage, hunting his way down the carpet looking for the camera like a laughing-seeking missile. Or perhaps a carpet laugh bomb, because no one was safe. He’d deliver 60 seconds of delicious, unexplainable, unscriptable nonsense. Leaving the interviewer and everyone watching in his wake.

He wasn’t a comic you needed parental guidance for. He was someone you had to watch with your dad.

I’ll miss him.

2 thoughts on “You ain’t never had a friend like me

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