35 People Talk About Their Memories Of Robin Williams, Funny And Sad

AskRedditors talk about their memories of Robin Williams, both funny and sad.

1. “Wandering Around” On An Airplane

My Dad is a pilot and told me a story a few years back about meeting Robin Williams on one of his flights. He was actually commuting on a connect flight to Minneapolis from where he would be starting his trip from and happened to be sitting next to none other than Robin Williams’ wife (Robin was sitting a few seats ahead of him). My dad got up a short while into the flight and asked him if he wanted to switch seats with him so that he could be with his wife. According to my dad, Robin Williams responded with a friendly smile and said “no it’s okay I feel a bit like wandering around right now anyway.” He got up shook my dad’s hand and then proceeded to go say hey to other passengers for a bit. My dad said he was one of the friendliest guys he had ever met.

2. Always Ready To Get Into Character

I met Robin in 1992 when I was 11 years old. The pool scene in Mrs. Doubtfire was filmed at the pool where I used to swim as a kid.

One night I was with a friend at the pool and we thought we saw Robin swimming. We kept a close eye on him from 100 feet away, trying to figure out if it was actually him. The man stood up at the edge of the pool and looked over at us. It was him! We waved. He was wearing swimming paddles on his hands, so he immediately went into character, clapped the paddles together, barked at us like a seal and waved back.

He got out of the pool and walked over to us, where we gushed to him about our favorite films of his. Then he signed a couple autographs, we thanked him for his time, and he went off to the locker room. I’ll never forget that moment. What a cool and hilarious dude.

3. When Movies Mirror Reality

Mrs. Doubtfire came out right after my parents got divorced.

I remember seeing it in the theatre with my brother and dad. Now, during any other movie, my dad would fall asleep… But, I remember watching tears run down his cheek during Mrs. Doubtfire while he sat awake, wide-eyed for the whole movie (no doubt thinking about his own divorce and how much he loved his children).

Even though I was only 7 at the time… I remember my father’s tears made me realize what a life-changing thing we were going through together.

My father passed away 6 years after that – and watching Mrs. Doubtfire next to him in the theatre remains one of my favorite memories of him.

4. The Thing That Always Makes You Laugh

“Never pick a fight with an ugly person. They don’t have anything to lose.” ~Robin Williams

Out of the tens of thousands of hilarious things he said, this one always made me laugh the loudest for some reason. RIP, funny man. The world is a lesser place because you’re no longer in it. :(

5. Temporary Problems

“If you’re that depressed, reach out to someone. And remember, suicide is a permanent solution, to a temporary problem.” -Robin Williams So sad :(

6. The Determined Ones Never Quit

My favorite Robin Williams moment: He was asked by a reporter what he said to aspiring comedians who asked him if they should be a comedian.

He flatly said, “I tell them no. Don’t do it.”

When asked why he would say such a thing he replied; “If they have the drive to make it; they’re not going to give a fuck about what I say. And if someone quits because I say that; then they were’t going to make it anyway. I just saved that person from wasting their time.”

7. Everyone Deserves To Be Remembered At Their Best

Last thing I ever saw him on was the Louis C.K. show. He played himself, he and Louie went to the sparsely attended funeral of a comic they both knew who was a jerk to everyone and who everyone hated. They went for coffee afterwards, talked about how the deceased comic was always trying to get people to go to this strip club with him and no one ever went and they decided to go there in his honor.

They get to the strip club and a stripper offers them a lap dance and they wind up explaining that they’re only there in honor of this guy. The stripper bursts into tears and the whole strip club shuts down as the DJ announces this guy’s death – here, he was the nicest and most popular guy on the planet. Everyone loved him.

They walk outside confused, and crack up laughing.

The show ends with Robin and Louis agreeing that they’ll at least go to each other’s funeral, should the other die first.

Everyone deserves to be remembered as their very best.

For Robin Williams, that’s rarified air. He was a true comic genius.

8. From St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital

This is the announcement St. Jude’s posted today in response to the news of Robin’s passing:

“Today the world lost an iconic man and entertainer, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital lost an incredible friend and supporter. We send our deepest sympathies to the family and loved ones of Robin Williams.

Mr. Williams generously gave his time to raise awareness and funds for St. Jude and for our patients battling childhood cancer. His humor brought bright smiles and laughter to our patients and families and his generosity deeply touched the hearts of all who knew him. He and his family remain in our thoughts and prayers.”

9. Didn’t Feel It Before But Feeling It Now

Most of my favorite comedians that are dead, John Candy, Phil Hartman, died when I was to young to really feel the impact of it. But now, to lose one of my heroes in such a heartbreaking way, just leaves me in a shock that I didn’t know existed. Even though I never met the man, Robin has always been a huge inspiration and prominent figure in my life. Growing up in the 90’s watching Hook, Aladdin, Mrs. Doubtfire, Jumanji, it felt like he was an Uncle that always made me laugh when I felt so down I forgot how to. Knowing that this man who made the world so happy was living with such pain and misery, breaks my heart.

RIP Robin Williams, thank you for all the laughs, all the love, and always being there when we needed you.

10. Eye Contact Rewarded

When I was maybe 10 years old, I was in the lobby of a hotel in Baltimore and my dad tapped me on the shoulder and pointed to a guy standing in line. I turned and saw a short, hairy guy with a big pack pack. When I realized who it was, I let out a gasp and made eye contact with Robin Williams. He then looked back at me and let out a gasp of his own. Small, insignificant story, but it makes me laugh thinking back to that.

11. Neverland

I never understood how the death of a celebrity could impact someone’s life so much, especially if they’ve never met them. Today, I understand that feeling, I understand that despair, and I feel that loss.

When I was a kid I used to wait until everyone went to sleep and then I would sneak downstairs and I’d get the movie Hook from the collection and bring it upstairs with me. I must have watched that movie every night for years. I used to act it out, saying all the lines. It was mine, it was my time to be a lost boy, or an Indian, and to never grow up. Because to me growing up meant losing everything beautiful about life, forgetting everything there is about playing in the sun and swimming in the ocean and feeling the breeze on your face.

Growing up meant taking on responsibilities being mean setting rules and having to tell children that fantasies are not reality, that they can never be cowboys, they can never be indians, they can never be pirates and people don’t fly and your shadow certainly will never run away from you. In a way I still haven’t grown up ,I fight t coming he urges. I remember. I remember a time when a stick was a sword and a cardboard box was a shield and I was a warrior, and I truly was happy.

Today I am saddened by the loss of Robin Williams, Peter Pan. I feel like Wendy waiting by the window all grown up with no one to take me to Neverland.

Today, if you ask me, boy why are you crying? I would have to reply that I’m crying because today I lost a happy thought, today I cannot fly.

12. Favorite Quotes

“So avoid using the word ‘very’ because it’s lazy. A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Don’t use very sad, use morose. Language was invented for one reason, boys – to woo women – and, in that endeavor, laziness will not do. It also won’t do in your essays.”

13. Lifts You When You’re Sad

I have been depressed lately, so the other day I went on Netflix looking for a movie to cheer me up. I ended up watching The Birdcage, even though I have seen it several times before. I picked it because I loved Robin Williams and he has never failed to make me laugh. I feel so honestly sad that there was no one and nothing to cheer him when he most needed it. I feel like one of the brightest lights in the universe just winked out and the world just got a little bit darker.

14. Statement By President Barack Obama

Statement by President Obama on the Passing of Robin Williams:
Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between. But he was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien – but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit. He made us laugh. He made us cry. He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most – from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalized on our own streets. The Obama family offers our condolences to Robin’s family, his friends, and everyone who found their voice and their verse thanks to Robin Williams.

15. Too Psychotic For The Shining

Mine is that he was considered for the part of Jack Torrance in The Shining, but Kubrick turned him down for being “too psychotic

Edit: added link

16. Cheering Superman

When he burst into Christopher Reeves room shortly after his accident portraying a russian doctor there to perform a colonoscopy…Reeves said it was the first time he laughed and knew things would be alright.

17. Restaurant Peacemaker

Remember reading a story about a time someone once met this amazing man. Took some digging on here but I found it: Robin Williams, very friendly and funny. More so then I expected honestly. I went to a dinner with my father and a couple of his co-workers at a fancy italian restaurant when I was about 18 and about halfway through the meal a few of the co-workers got drunk and started to scream at the waiter in Italian. In response the waiter, and eventually a few other workers, joined in and were screaming back at the co-workers and then inbetween all of them came Robin Williams gesticulating wildly and screaming mock Italian at both sides until they calmed the hell down and started to laugh at Robin Williams and his antics instead. When everyone went back to their seats I walked up to Robin Williams, thanked him for defusing the situation, and did the usual “I love your work, It’s amazing to meet you” spiel and then he began to ask ME questions about my life, how I am, my age, what I wanted to do and was very friendly and caring. When I was walking away back to my dad he stopped me and said words I try to live by, “Kid, take a good look at those suits. Don’t try to end up like them. If you need booze or drugs to enjoy your life to the fullest then you’re doing it wrong.”

18. Doing It Right

That he got the part of Mork on ‘Mork & Mindy’ because when asked to take a seat, he sat on his head. The producer said that he was cast because he was the only alien who auditioned for the role.

19. He Listened To Me

I know this’ll probably be buried, but I figured I write it anyway. I met Robin Williams a couple years back when I was in a Hospital. It wasn’t anything life-threatening, but I was prepped to go into surgery later that day. Some of the other kids and I were told that “a surprise celebrity” was coming to visit us, and we would get to spend the morning with them.

I was shocked and so freaking happy when I saw Robin Williams walk into the room. I had to wait 20 minutes before I could talk to him (we were in a circle, and each person got to ask him questions), but the wait was totally worth it. I can’t remember the actual questions I asked (I had a lot of drugs in my system at the time), but I do remember him patiently listening to everything I had to say. At that point in my life, not many people had given me the same courtesy.

He was, and still is, one of the greatest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.

20. Donate To St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital

Can this thread be for just hugs? I need a hug. :-(

Edit: God dammit I Iove you people.

2nd Edit: Thank you for the gold. I wish it had been on much different terms, but I’ll repay that generosity by making a donation of my own to a local charity.

Last edit: i_am_jargon brought to my attention that Mr. William’s was a strong supporter of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I have made a donation in the memory of Robin Williams and encourage others to do the same. Here’s the link:

21. Captain! My Captain!

O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done; The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won; The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring: But O heart! heart! heart! O the bleeding drops of red, Where on the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead

22. Another Favorite Quote

He had a small part in my favorite movie, Artificial Intelligence, as Dr. Know. He recites this poem in his scene and I love it so much.

Come away, O human child! To the waters and the wild With a faery, hand in hand. For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

23. He Helped Me To Understand

I wish I could’ve told Robin that he had such a big impact on my life. My parents went through a divorce when I was much younger and then Mrs. Doubtfire came out, It made me understand things in a simpler way. Then I then saw Jack, I was being bullied at school because I was overweight and I felt like it would never stop. Jack made me laugh in ways that no one else could or would make me laugh. I cried when I heard he passed.
My dad died of a heroin overdose when I was 10… He was dealing with major depression and now this all makes me sad for more than one reason.
I’m sorry for anyone hurting, I wish we could all just be happy… Happy how we are and happy for everyone else. Now I have to cry some more.
RIP lovely man.

24. Starbucks Encounter

Stupid story but I want to tell it: I served coffee to him at Starbucks in San Francisco years ago and he was super humble, tipped well, and posed for pictures with a huge Hispanic family which was there.

25. The Great Pagliacci

“I heard joke once: Man goes to doctor. Says he’s depressed, life is harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in threatening world. Doctor says, “Treatment is simple. The great clown Pagliacci is in town. Go see him. That should pick you up.” Man bursts into tears.”But doctor” He says, “I am Pagliacci.” Good joke. Everybody laugh. Roll on snare drum. Curtains.”

RIP Mr. Williams

26. A Bear On A Bike

Here’s my personal Robin Williams story.

I live in the Wood River Valley (aka Sun Valley, Idaho). And he’s a very frequent visitor here. Meet him a couple of times.

Once was out hiking with a some friends when we decide to stop for lunch. As we’re eating a small group of mtn bikers goes past and one of them has his shirt off and holy shit is he hirsute!

I’ve always had issues with impulse control and blurt out, Hey check it out, it’s a bear on a bike!

It was Robin Williams.

He heard me and stopped cause he was laughing so much. His group stayed for a bit as we talked about the trail conditions and whatnot. Really nice, decent and obviously funny human being.

The world will be less humorous with him gone…..

27. The Biggest Legend Of Zelda Fan

that he named his daughter Zelda, which is what I would be doing as well.

28. Steven Spielberg

Funny how he helped Steven Spielberg theough his own depression, but when it struck him, it hit hard and he just couldn’t take it.

Goodbye, Robin Williams. The world has lost one of its finest.

29. Where?!

My uncle saw him jogging in Hawaii–he yelled out, “That’s Robin Williams!” Robin Williams heard him, turned around and screamed “Where!!!” Then continued on his run.

30. Favorite Joke

I worked for Elton John as a video tech, and we were at MSG for his birthday concert. I was hanging out by the stage door before the show, and found myself in the company of Bill Clinton, Ozzy Osbourne, and Robin Williams. I decided to make small talk with Robin.

I asked him what joke he told when people met him and demanded him tell him a joke. He said…

A postman comes up to a house and a 3 year old opens the door in a silk robe, with a martini and a cigar.

The postman says, “Are your parents home?”

The kid says, “What the fuck do you think?”

All I can really say about Robin is that out of Ozzy and Clinton and him, I’d choose to talk to him. And he was funny.

31. Outsmarting Disney

Hi guys, I had to share this story, passed down to me when I was in training at Disney World to work for DisneyParks.com.

Although I was working in corporate, we had to receive park training. The scoop, the Disney point, and all the things that make Disney a great place to visit. One of those things is that when celebrities come through, you’re not to acknowledge their celebrity status outside of already knowing their names. No questions, no hassling them or their families, and certainly no photos.

But this is the story of when Robin Williams visited the park. He spent a lot of his time chatting up the cast members, but they were only moderately friendly and refused to take any pictures with him. Later in the day, he asked his guide why this was.

“They’re not allowed to engage with celebrities on a personal level, especially photos and autographs”, he was told.

The next day, Mr. Williams came back to the park with a stack of autographed head shots and gave one to every cast member he could find.

In one fell swoop, the man one-upped Disney’s legendary reputation for friendliness, but it wasn’t about that. He was just being who he was.

RIP Mr. Williams

32. Afghanistan 2006

This wonderful son of a bitch signed my boonie cap in Afghanistan in 06′. He shook everyone’s hand and performed one hell of a set on a USO tour (along with the red skin cheerleaders). God bless you Robin. You made a difference to me.

33. Robin Talks About LSD

One of the funniest interviews I’ve ever seen:


34. Yet Another Quote

“The problem is, God gave man a brain and a penis, and only enough blood to run one at a time.” ~Robin Williams

35. A Friend To The World, A Friend To Me

I wish the world wouldn’t so often prove that those who bring us laughter and happiness struggle so mightily to find it for themselves.

Performers, when they’re as good at what they do as a Robin Williams was, are easily lost in the midst of what they’ve done. I think I’m struggling with this one precisely because it never seemed as though he’d abandoned himself to play a character – it was as though he was not playing someone else, but a person who he just as easily could have been if he’d chosen not to a performer. In a weird way, I guess I feel I came to know the man himself through the performances he gave. As ridiculous as this sounds, I feel an uncomfortable amount of personal responsibility. He was a friend to the world, and he was a friend to me.

I feel as though I let him down.

Robin, if you still exist somewhere and that somewhere has internet access, don’t worry; you didn’t disappoint us. We’re all just very sad that we couldn’t help you. If you’re still around, if your consciousness lingers, I hope whatever pain you felt didn’t follow you through the veil. No matter the cause, no matter the circumstance, the world is a worse place without you, and we’re so sorry to see you’ve gone.

Rest in peace. Then, when you’re done, get in line for reincarnation and come make us laugh again. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

featured image – YouTube

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