Friday, October 10, 2014

Oh Captain

I haven’t posted anything about Robin Williams and now the media moment has passed. I don’t know if a return, two months gone, is interesting to anyone. 

This time, the delay is not a result of my battle with the undoable workload. It’s a personal resonance and I had a long debate on commenting. Maybe there is still a dialog about overwhelming depression and it's genesis being something other than cowardice or stupidity or laziness or lack of moral fortitude. The stigma itself makes management that more grueling and failure more predominant. It allows relationships to fade, family to break ties and society to disregard any other aspects of self. It is horrible. 

From a 2006 interview about addiction and depression: 

"You're standing at a precipice and you look down. There's a voice, it's a little quite voice that goes, 'Jump.' It's the same voice that goes, 'Just once.'"

"It's not caused by anything. It's just there. . . . It lays in wait for the time when you think, 'It's fine now. I'm OK.' And then the next thing you know, it's not OK."

"Robin is like a combination of Einstein and Daffy Duck."

"Every time you create, you get a little endorphin buzz. Why do you think Einstein looked like that?"

On Juilliard:

"It was Christopher Reeve and myself. He was chosen because he was stunningly handsome and I was chosen as a character actor. 'Little hairy boy! You be funny!'" 

On The Tonight Show when asked about doing classical theater:  
"It's exciting to wear tights and have people go, 'I can't see anything.' (Imitating the costume director)  'Will someone get him a dagger!?!'" 

Both Robin and Christopher had breakout roles as Aliens. 

Reeves presented Robin with the 1979 award for Favorite New TV Performer. 

On Parenthood: 

"Everyone has these two visions when they hold their child for the first time. The first is your child as an adult saying 'I want to thank the Nobel Committee for this award.' The other is 'You want fries with that?'"

"My mom was a Christian Dior Scientist." 

"Who really knows what they are doing as a parent? 'Daddy will buy you a Mercedes. Just please don't dance naked in the fountain.'" 

On Mork and Mindy:  

Gary Marshall was the creator of Happy Days. Marshall’s son watched Star Wars and suggested that he include an alien. 

"I had one job and one job only, to keep a straight face." Henry Winkler

"We’re gonna’ go out there, and win this one for the zipper!" Nov 25th episode of Mork and Mindy

During episodes, Robin kept sneaking in very clever references to censored topics. The network finally had to hire censors who understood Spanish, Yiddish and Russian.  

"He was like trying to catch lightening in a bottle."

On Good Will Hunting:

He agreed to the role in Good Will Hunting at a small portion of his normal rate. Both Matt Damon and Ben Affleck have said that his agreement to the film was the reason the film was made. "What do you owe a guy who does that? Everything."

He was Oscar nominated for Good Morning Vietnam, Dead Poets Society and The Fisher King. 

He won the Best Supporting Actor for Good Will Hunting in 1998.

On Politics: 

"Politics: 'Poli', a Latin word meaning 'many' and 'tics' meaning 'bloodsucking creatures'."

"You'll notice that Bush never speaks when Cheney is drinking water."

"People say satire is dead. It's not dead; it's alive and living in the White House."

"It’s the end of the reign of George the Second. The reign of error is over. . . I will miss him. He is a comedy piƱata." 

On Charities:

He worked with over 50 charities including St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Comic Relief and the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.

"Many celebs have requirements about cars and who they will talk to, but Robin was the opposite. He showed up on his own and he stayed at our events and talked to everyone."

Over 12 years, he made 17 USO tours and performed for 90,000 troops.

"At the end of every performance Robin was always the last entertainer to leave. In Iraq, a group of Marines came in late from patrol and missed his show. He made it a point to meet with them . . . even as the chopper’s blades were turning to go to the next show."

"The Statue of Liberty is no longer saying, 'Give me your poor, your tired, your huddled masses.' She’s got a baseball bat and yelling, 'You want a piece of me?'"

One last piece

"Do I get sad? Oh yeah. Does it hit me hard? Oh Yeah."

Dark humor is my Hail Mary for getting out of bed when everything becomes too horrible. It is the alternative to despair when tilting at windmills is too exhausting.

"Comedy is acting out optimism."

Richard Pryor, when his multiple sclerosis became debilitating, remembered Robin visiting him as an ex-wife voodoo doctor and Christopher Reeves, after breaking his neck, remembered Robin visiting him as a Russian proctologist. 

Robin knew that laughing at the terrible is sometimes the only step back from the edge and sometimes even that isn’t enough.

"What's right is what's left if you do everything else wrong."

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