Obviously everyone knows at this point that Robin Williams died yesterday from an apparent suicide but I felt like I had to address it in a blog post because of what the guy meant to me and a generation of kids that grew up watching his movies. I was a little too young (-6 to be exact) to remember him from Mork and Mindy but in the 90's I wore out the VCR at my house watching Hook, Mrs. Doubtfire and Aladdin over and over and over again. But what I really appreciated about him was his ability to not only get a laugh, but to make you feel and make you think. Ultimately if you have a sense of humor and timing you can get a cheap laugh, that's not that hard despite how difficult we make it look here every day on Strange Brew. But to make you laugh AND think critically is what separated him from everyone else. It's what made him a genius, not just a comedian or actor.
And as I got a little bit older I think my favorite movies he appeared in were the ones that had maybe a little more depth than a Mrs. Doubtfire (although the story of a man dressed as an old lady who lights her cans on fire does have a certain je ne sais quoi). Good Will Hunting is one of my favorite movies of all time and the above scene is one of the reasons why. That scene, the park bench scene , the super philosophy scene , they're all tremendous. Each scene deals with a serious subject and finds a truth but does it with a humorous touch that only Robin Williams could bring.
With that all said it certainly was a sad way to end a story of a man that brought so much laughter and joy to so many people. In addition to his movies and stand up it's very much worth noting that he spent extensive time with an organization that is near and dear to our hearts at B93, St. Jude Children's Research. He also made countless trips to entertain our troops with USO Tours. Apparently though he battled depression, drug and alcohol addictions. And unfortunately I think that seems to be a little symptomatic of those that are comedians or actors or musicians whose job it is to brighten people's worlds. I guess if there's something we can learn from his death it's hopefully that if you have someone close to you that is battling similar problems, make sure you check in, let them know you care. I'm not inferring that that was not happening in Robin Williams' life, I never knew the man personally and from what I've read it sounds like his family did all they could to help him battle his demons. But I think we likely all have someone in our life that does wage this daily war and maybe a phone call or text could make a difference. I think The Academy summed it up best with this tweet yesterday;