August 22, 2009

The Robin Williams Rollercoaster
(the whole chart, readable-sized, here)

Personal note: 25 years ago next month, I was privileged to see Robin Williams performing standup in a very small club in West L.A. It was the second time he'd faced a live audience since the death of John Belushi, right after "Moscow on the Hudson" gave him career revival #1. And I was at a table with two of my friends right in front of the stage, wearing a white cable-knit sweater. I recognized a lot of his performance as repeats of his less-improvisational material, but at times he gazed out over the audience for inspiration. And early on, he looked me straight in the sweater and said "Hey look! It's Bill Tilden!" I appreciated the attention and the less-than-current reference (one of my friends had to explain to me who he was).

  • I've driven by his place in SF, which, unsurprisingly, is surrounded by bizarre topiaries. It would be nice for him to not suck consistently, though, instead of this roller coaster. I remember being a kid at summer camp in the early 80's listening to his stand up comedy on cassette tape and thinking he was really funny and dangerous and an outlaw.
  • He's always cracked me up, even in the stinkers. It's pretty much acknowledged that he's bipolar. Whether or not he's ever had treatment, I don't know, but he appears to self-medicate as many unadmitted bipolars do. One example of how the manic stage propels extreme creativity and the depressive, extreme self-destructiveness.
  • Williams at his stand-up best, on the subject of golf (NSFW)
  • Robin Williams to play ... Susan Boyle? Please dear lord, say it ain't so!