Ron White is a comedian from the Texas panhandle who’s best known as one of the original members of Jeff Foxworthy’s Blue Collar Comedy. His top selling comedy albums include “Drunk in Public”, “Behavioral Problems, and “You Can’t Fix Stupid” which was a number one comedy release and reached number two on Billboard’s Country charts.
He recently came to the SiriusXM studios to tape an episode of “Unmasked” with host Ron Bennington. He talked to Bennington about his start in comedy in his home state of Texas, his infamous run ins with the law and his days on tour. He also reflected on his widely publicized drinking and drug use which he offers no excuses for. In an emotional moment during the interview, the larger-than-life Texas personality shared a very personal story about a time when Robin Williams, someone he had never met before, stepped in to offer some help.
“I had a brief bout with sobriety a few years ago that I was able to overcome with help from my friends,” he joked. “This bout with sobriety started at a rehab in Malibu. I wasn’t particularly good at it. I was two weeks into it. I was not doing well.” He was told that he was being taken to a secret lunch, and was put into a car and taken to the Bel Air Hotel, where he was completely surprised by who his surprise lunch guests were– Robin Williams, Bobcat Goldthwait. Ron White had never met Robin Williams, but he did know comedian and film director Bobcat Goldthwait. Ron explained that even though the lunch was arranged through his rehab program, recovery was never brought up at the meal.
“We didn’t spend one second talking about the amazingly boring story of sobriety. We talked about jokes and comedy and stand up. He [Williams] helped me work on a bit that I was working on. We sat there and laughed for two hours.”
Bennington asked Ron White what meeting Robin Williams that day meant to him, that someone he didn’t even know would reach out to a fellow comedian in trouble. It was an uncharacteristically emotional moment for White, who is known for being a guy’s guy. His voice started to crack when he said,
“It showed me how much heart…and Robin, the two hours that I knew him, was on the whole two hours. I mean he was Robin Williams in character. Which is all he was really comfortable doing. So, nobody really knew what was going on behind that. And I didn’t even wonder or care, you know? I just thought it was amazing. This guy would come out, he didn’t know me at all. But he would come out and try to help me through this little tiny struggle that I was having.”
Ron never saw Robin Williams again after that private meeting. Through tears, Ron White added, “And then he took his own life. And it was tough. Tougher than it should have been probably for me. Just because he was so kind for no reason at all.”
Ron said he never talked about meeting Robin Williams until after Robin’s shocking death on August 11th of this year. White added “And when he died, I thought, ‘Well, I should tell that story.’ I should tell that story of his compassion for a fellow comic who was struggling with his fucking demons.”
Ron White is currently on tour across the country and will be appearing at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Saturday, April 18th with special guest Vic Henley. For tour dates and tickets, go to TaterSalad.com.
Ron Bennington’s Unmasked with Ron White premieres Friday, November 21st at 2 pm Eastern on the Ron and Fez Show. You can listen on SiriusXM’s Raw Dog Comedy Hits Channel 99. Replays of this episode will run Saturday, November 22nd at 7 pm et and on Sunday, November 23rd at 2 pm and 10 pm et.
Unmasked — an hour long interview show talking about creativity with comedians– is taped before a live studios audience. In addition to hosting Unmasked, Ron Bennington also hosts Ron Bennington Interviews and is the primary voice on The Ron and Fez Show weekdays from noon to 3pm et on SiriusXM. For information on how to get tickets to tapings of Unmasked, follow@UnmaskedShow on twitter.