Not a lot shocks me anymore. Yet, as I logged onto Twitter Monday night after work to promote my own selfish post, I read news that utterly and completely shocked me.
I think I saw the tweet from Newsweek first. But I didn’t believe it. I checked the trends. But I didn’t believe it. When I finally read enough sources to confirm it, I didn’t want to believe it. Robin Williams, a man that was as much of a part of my childhood as my own father, was gone.
It’s all I’ve seen now on social media in the last 48 hours. Some are sending out their RIP hashtags, while others are outraged over how much we now know about one of the world’s most beloved comedian’s death and more specifically what The Academy tweeted to honor the comedian. The question is always the same in these situations; Why would someone so who brought so much joy and was so beloved, take their own life? That is not an answer that I, nor anyone else, is equip to answer. But what I can do right now is remember, with love and admiration, Robin Williams, a character that I grew up with and who made me fall in love with movies everyday.
When I was a kid my mom wouldn’t really let me watch TV (as funny as that sounds it’s totally true.) Instead I was allowed to watch mom-approved films, which meant it was Disney or nothing. I do not remember how I began to acquire so many Disney movies, but I do know that, besides “The Lion King,” “Aladdin” was the one that was watched most.
There are many things about that movie that all kids love, but the one thing we would all agree upon is Williams. Or, Genie. Genie not only gave good advice and made kids and parents laugh, he was also a good friend. One of the best Disney characters.
As I got older I got to experience Robin Williams in new ways. Films like “Mrs. Doubtfire” and “Good Will Hunting.” Robin Williams embodied everything I love about movies and comedy. One minute he could be an outrageous character and stand-up and the next he could be playing an English teacher trying to inspire students through poets in “Dead Poets Society.” He was everything an entertainer should be.
People ask me all of the time why I’m so obsessed with knowing everything about pop culture. Why do I listen to classic rock? Why do I love movies? Why do I like writing about comedy? I think Jimmy Fallon’s tribute to Williams last night on the “Tonight Show” pretty much sums up why I love comedy and entertainment so much. If you haven’t seen it, Fallon cried, did his best (and it was perfect) Williams impression, played the ridiculous first live TV appearance Williams did on the “Tonight Show” so many years ago, and then he stood on his desk and quoted one of Williams’ most famous lines.
Respect and passion have always been big things for me. You can find them most noticeably in comedy. Because as we all grieve the passing of a man so dear to our hearts, the people that we turn to for a laugh and commentary on our world (Fallon, Seth Meyers, Conan to name a few) did just that; they made us laugh. And I think that is what he would want us to do. Remember the laughs. Remember his passion.
Seth said it best when he said we were lucky enough to have Robin Williams at all. So many of my childhood memories and love of movies and comedy came from him. And I will never forget that. I will never forget him, the Genie of the Lamp.
I’ll leave you with my favorite Robin Williams clip. When he won his Oscar for “Good Will Hunting.” It sums him up pretty well.