Join 3,365 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


"I don't know why I made the raccoons Irish, but it works."
August 21, 2012 10:43 PM   Subscribe

Robin Williams in Concert:
An Evening with Robin Williams (1982)
A Night at The Met: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (1986)
Live on Broadway (2002)
Weapons of Self Destruction (2010) (Alternate link)

Bonus: Inside the Actor's Studio
posted by zarq (36 comments total) 54 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh man, I used to be able to recite Live At The Met when I was in high school. Let's give it a try:

"Thankyou, thankyou. Howdy! Oh, wrong opera house! Did you like the play, Mr Lincoln? Duck!"
posted by fonetik at 10:54 PM on August 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


Recently I watched a long Youtube clip from an old Robin Williams special, and I was surprised by how funny, smart and edgy it was. Lots of swearing and drug jokes. It was as manic as the stuff he does now, except it was good. He used to be a very talented dramatic actor, too! (Remember The Fisher King?) He's been this sad, desperate and kind of annoying guy for so long that it's easy to forget why he became so famous in the first place.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 12:31 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


(Remember The Fisher King?)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 8:31 AM on August 22


I thought he was rather good in One Hour Photo, too.
posted by Decani at 1:45 AM on August 22, 2012 [6 favorites]


(blowing smoke into infant's face): "Life ees shit. Deal with eet."

Nope. Still hilarious.
posted by likeso at 4:04 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I thought he was great in the recent episode of Louie. I wish the entire episode was based on Louie and Robin hanging out instead of shifting gears partway through.
posted by Dr-Baa at 4:35 AM on August 22, 2012 [7 favorites]


He's really funny, but c'mon. You start your career with an improv theater and Julliard background. Fuel that with tons of coke (later, alcohol.) You get famous. You make some bad movies. People are disappointed when they meet you, because they thought you would be funnier in person.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:18 AM on August 22, 2012


The alcohol portion of "Live at the Met" is definitely in the top 25 all-time stand-up bits.
"I had to stop drinking alcohol because I kept waking up nude in front of my car with my keys in my ass."
"Can I help you?"
"No thanks, it's just flooded."
Genius.


Like fonetik, I could recite large portions of Live at the Met from memory in high school. Still can.
posted by namewithoutwords at 5:24 AM on August 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Like fonetik, I could recite large portions of Live at the Met from memory in high school. Still can.

Yup.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 5:44 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Live on Broadway had me, my mom and my brother bent over in paralyzing laughter, absolutely helpless. It's one of the few times we all agreed on anything :)
posted by acheekymonkey at 5:49 AM on August 22, 2012


fonetik: "Oh man, I used to be able to recite Live At The Met when I was in high school. "

Oh, hell yes. The whole concert is seared into my memory... in a good way.

"My son is three, and he wants to know everything in the goddamn world."
"Why is the sky blue?"
"Well, because of the atmosphere."
"Why is there atmosphere?"
"Well, because we have to breathe."
"Why do we have to breathe?"
"WHO ARE YOU, CARL SAGAN!?! A year ago you were sitting in your own shit! You were eating boogers Five Months Ago and now you want to know the nature of the universe? Are you baby buddha?!"
*sigh*
"Go ask Mommy, she's omnipotent. She knows EVERYTHING!"

It was hilarious to me then. Now that I have two kids, it's OH SO TRUE and REALLY funny.
posted by zarq at 5:53 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Like fonetik, I could recite large portions of Live at the Met from memory in high school. Still can.

Yup.


Same here.

"Fuck it!"
posted by eoden at 6:13 AM on August 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh look. It's the Williams boy.
posted by papercake at 6:16 AM on August 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


ah saw this for the first time yesterday : Shrink Rap - Robin Williams
posted by doogyrev at 7:12 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Man, Live at the Met was like a holy text for me until I was 16ish and felt like I had to disown Williams over Aladdin if I was going to properly keep it real.
posted by COBRA! at 7:25 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I remember watching his Inside the Actors Studio appearance with my wife (gf at the time) and two friends, and literally rolling on the floor I was laughing so hard. Great routines but one of the best ad-libbers in the business. The best demonstration of this is the scene in Good Will Hunting where his character tells Will (Matt Damon) the story about how his wife would fart when she was nervous. The script called for Williams to ad-lib a story, and the reaction from Damon, doubled over laughing, is priceless.

At the same time, I couldn't help but detect a pathos of using humour to avoid anything vaguely personal in his discussion with James Lipton.
posted by dry white toast at 7:39 AM on August 22, 2012


Like fonetik, I could recite large portions of Live at the Met from memory in high school. Still can.

"Well, it was light, it was dark, it was light, it was dark, it was light, it was dark."

OMG I miss that wonderful feeling of laughing hysterically, uncontrollably, feeling pain in my side, crying and being unable to talk due to laughing so hard. Hasn't happened to that degree since then.
posted by Melismata at 7:46 AM on August 22, 2012


And yeah, first I watched "Moscow on the Hudson." Then I watched "Seize the Day," and then finally "Club Paradise" before I realized that this was not accomplishing anything. He made an admirable attempt at the Boston accent (and was very good) in "Good Will Hunting", though.
posted by Melismata at 7:53 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Seize the Day"?
posted by eoden at 8:10 AM on August 22, 2012


I suspect I'm one of the only people who saw "What Dreams May Come" who liked it. But I think scenes like this one were just brilliant, and bring tears to my eyes every time I watch them.
posted by zarq at 8:19 AM on August 22, 2012


"Seize the Day"?
posted by Optamystic at 8:20 AM on August 22, 2012


Sonofagun. Here I thought someone was mis-remembering the title of Dead Poets' Society. Thanks for the link.
posted by eoden at 8:27 AM on August 22, 2012


Robin Williams lost his edge when he kicked his coke habit. There, I said what you're all thinking.

Also, I really wish Mork and Mindy was available on Netflix streaming. The stuff he did with Jonathan Winters is some of the funniest TV I remember.
posted by mkultra at 8:37 AM on August 22, 2012


Eric Clapton sucked after he gave up heroin, too.
posted by msalt at 11:11 AM on August 22, 2012


He's been this sad, desperate and kind of annoying guy for so long that it's easy to forget why he became so famous in the first place.

Am I missing some super-obvious chunk of the zeitgeist here? What (other than make some "bad choices" and sort of fall into post-middle-age oblivion, which isn't exactly a novel condition in youth-and-trend-obsessed Hollywood) did Robin Williams do or say, exactly, that earned him a description that would be interchangeable with, say, a description of Richard Simmons or Gallagher or Jay Leno? I mean, other than the kicked-the-coke thing? Robin Williams was never my favorite die-because-I'm-laughing-so-much comedian, but he's a fairly hilarious guy when he's on.
posted by blucevalo at 11:16 AM on August 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yep. Still hilarious.
posted by likeso at 11:20 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think it's just that after a while, covering up lazy material with the same old 'flaming homosexual' or 'grumpy scot' schtick just gets old.
posted by OHenryPacey at 11:22 AM on August 22, 2012


On the Alex Bennett show. 30+ years later, I still quote this broadcast.
posted by humboldt32 at 11:33 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Another good film performance: Moscow on the Hudson
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:29 PM on August 22, 2012


bluecevalo: Basically, an infamous string of bad movie choices that coincided with stopping standup comedy for a number of years.
posted by msalt at 1:51 PM on August 22, 2012


So I'm the only one who liked Toys?
posted by Bonzai at 2:07 PM on August 22, 2012


Am I missing some super-obvious chunk of the zeitgeist here?

I don't hate the guy myself, but I haven't heard anybody say anything positive about Williams for quite a while. He's been in a whole lot of bad movies, and when he turns up on talk shows now I kind of dread it because he's as desperate to entertain as ever, but he's just not very funny anymore. Of course, YMMV. He's been bad enough for long enough now that a lot of critics have forgotten just how amazing he was and perhaps still could be. (Given that his glory days were arguably over 30 years ago, a lot of critics probably have no memory of what Williams was like in his prime.) Personally I'd like to see him have a comeback. It would be nice if he was in a really funny movie, or was in a drama that really showed what he can do.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:44 PM on August 22, 2012


I saw Robin's WOMD in 2010 here in Vancouver and despite his recent bad movies - jokes - whatever, I'll still always love him and he will still always make me laugh and smile. Thanks for the great post. Move over Netflix, I have something better to watch tonight!
posted by Bron-Y-Aur at 4:12 PM on August 22, 2012


I also remember lots of A Night At The Met. I still think Dr. Roof is right about your eyes being up here for a reason and don't look at what the goodies are doing. And there's also, "don't get your dog stoned! He's got enough problems as it is!" and "Here's a little switch--Daddy's gonna throw up on you."
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:25 PM on August 22, 2012


He and Whoopi Goldberg have had a similar trajectory of doing edgy stand up in the 80s (not sure if Whoopi's drug history corresponds with her standup period as it did with Robin) and then deteriorating into decades of middlebrow shlock.

Anyway, thanks for these fantastic links!
posted by latkes at 7:07 AM on August 23, 2012


One night on Johnny Carson's show Robin Williams absolutely took over the world. I have never, ever seen anything like it. It was just amazing. I suspect that there was barrels of cocaine involved and I don't care, no one else has ever done anything at that level, coke or not, other than maybe the Yankees in the 1977 World Series.

I never have watched TV, pretty much hated it since I was a kid. On Tuesday nights (I think it was Tuesdays), lo those long years ago, a buddy of mine (another TV hater) and myself would go to a restaurant that had tv at your table -- you pumped quarters into it -- we went there and watched Mork and Mindy. It was the freshest breeze in years, on TV. (Though maybe I'm wrong, because I didn't watch TV; it was damn sure the freshest breeze I knew about on TV.)

His show on The Actors Studio is outlandishly good, the whole damn thing in real time, it's hold your sides laughter, and it's absolutely after cocaine.

The man is probably the best ad-lib comic of my lifetime, likely yours, too. He's absolutely brilliant, and it's in real time, totally just him, and I don't give a rats ass about cocaine or some bad movies or whatever, it's live that's where it's at with him, it's live that's where he is absolutely on fire, and amazing to watch.
posted by dancestoblue at 3:56 PM on August 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


(Oh, and when I said brilliant, above, I didn't mean it like the English do, where they'd say that some grape jelly is brilliant, or a hat, I'm saying brilliant the real way, the right way, like we do here, IE he's way, way out of the pack, more gifted by far than the average mope staggering around this stage or that one.)
posted by dancestoblue at 4:05 PM on August 23, 2012


« Older Computer modeling, along with new materials, has d...  |  With six homicides, Saturday A... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments