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Remembering Robin Williams: A Personal Reflection & Experience w/ A Comic Genius

Robin Williams - A comic genius without comparison
Robin Williams - A comic genius without comparison
HBO

My own favorite personal memory of Robin Williams.

I went to a NYC Comedy Club in the mid 80's - when such clubs were hugely popular. A full roster of good and bad comics filled the evening bill.

By 11PM, the club MC kept telling the diminishing crowd to stick around for a big surprise later that night. We stayed, more awful comics took the stage - and tried our patience.

By 1 AM, we were ready to walk out. Then the MC came out to say, Robin Williams - unexpected - decided to take the stage to have some fun doing some comedy. He was NOT scheduled… he just decided to stop by.

For the next 90-minutes, from 1 AM - Robin Williams entertained the small remaining crowd AD-LIBBING his entire set, working off chatting with the audience and items laying around on the tables, purses, napkins, empty drinks and more.

He riffed NON-STOP for 90-minutes without a line of prepared material, straight ad-lib - based on those of us sitting in his company.

It was a moment of comedic genius that I was blessed to witness pouring forth from him organically, unrehearsed … generated on the spur of the moment out of his true comedic brilliance.

It was hilariously funny and yet, also mind-boggling to see someone make people laugh with split second timing and creative mastery out of nothing but his own inventiveness. Never was an ad-lib routine over an empty drink as a prop ( and more ) that he picked up off of one of our tables - so superbly magnificent.

I never had the joy of interviewing Robin Williams in a quick semi-structured 4-minute session overseen by publicists for one of his films.

I was, instead, wonderfully blessed to see a truly unique comedic talent at work… simply for the fun of it - unpaid - just because he felt like having fun with a patient late-night crowd who believed a desperate club MC pleading to a tired, bored diminishing audience, saying, "stick around, folks… you won't regret it".

All these decades later, I still recall that 90-minutes as among the funniest and most joyous of my life.

Rest In Peace, Robin Williams - thank you for the laughs amid your own sadness.

God bless you, Sir.

Tim Estiloz is an Emmy winning entertainment journalist and member of The Broadcast Film Critics Association and The Boston Online Film Critics Association. Follow Tim on Twitter @TimEstiloz and at www.TimEstiloz.com. - Be sure to LIKE his page on Facebook at: Tim Estiloz Film Reviews.