Robin Williams and The Cos
So many articulate things have been written about Robin Williams and his terrible death that I won't bend your ear (eye) for long on this one. Williams had incredible range but frankly I am a much bigger fan of his screen work than his one stage comedy. Ask yourself if you wouldn't sit down excitedly tonite to savor any of these titles all over again: Mrs. Doubtfire, Dead Poets' Society, The World According to Garp, The Fisherking, Good Will Hunting, Happy Feet, One Hour Photo, Awakenings, The Birdcage,
Acting is all about pretending to be others but it's a myth that actors play others to escape themselves. You expose everything when you act and the reason Williams did so well in roles about sincerity, vulnerability and deep sadness was because they were all a part of him.
I never believe that celebrities "owe" their fans. Stardom is an offshoot of being good at something it doesn't mean that you necessarily have to put up with being stopped on the street, at the restaurant table or wherever you may be in public. But most stars do anyway. And Williams was from the John Candy school of fan treatment; give back whatever the fan gives you. You may remember an event I hosted for Williams two years ago at The Sony Center (some people were upset because they thought it was too short). Backstage there were maybe twenty people in total but Williams spent time with them all and even called over those who he could tell were admiring him from a distance but too shy to speak with him.
Maddog from Virgin Radio and I spoke with Williams at the time of his appearance. You can hear that conversation here. And one last great bit of audio for you, our genuis producer Chris Kant put together this montage based on conversations we had on NewsTalk 1010 immediately after learning of Robin William's death.
And while we're talking comedians and screen stars, they don't come much bigger than Bill Cosby. I spent about twenty minutes with The Cos yesterday on the phone and it was a somewhat wiggy experience. I asked about his thoughts on Williams and got three minutes on why prescription drugs need better labels. He also went on a tangent about the difference between being rich and being wealthy which apparently is having enough money to put a Gulfstream jet on your credit card but not being able to afford to crew it. I've edited things down to what I thought would interest you and you can find that audio here.
I guess it will surprise many people that comedians are sometimes extraordinarily eccentric, depressive or insecure. Hey, it's like any other art form. Just because their job is to make people laugh doesn't mean they don't suffer from the same complex of doubts and fears.