Robin Williams’ shocking suicide this year was undoubtably the single biggest event in comedy of the year, if not the decade. When we learned that the man whose laser sharp wit, tireless energy, and kind eyes and smile entertained generation after generation had taken his own life, it was too much to even process. His legacy– his work– is massive. Comedian Rick Overton has been one of Robin’s closest friends for over 40 years. He was kind enough to share some thoughts on Robin for us.
I met Robin Williams back in the 70’s in New York when Elayne Boosler was going out with him. She brought him into the clubs, Catch a Rising Star, and the Improv, and I was in my comedy team then when I met him, and he and I had a mutual love of Jonathan Winters. The same thing that got him into the business got me into the business. We sort of bonded over that and so we became best friends and guys who could improv together for hours at a time. He was all lightning. He was all lightning of genius, and you’ll often find that the real geniuses are kind, and nice guys and he was the perfect example of that. He was a good guy. And he’s human so he had slips, he had falls, he did everything we all do except there was a camera pointing at him the entire time he’s doing it.
And I just want the record to show that he was not slipping back into the other drugs when this happened. This was because of heart surgery, and heart surgery creates a situation where 40% of people who have had their chest opened up and their heart stopped, and started again, they come back with suicidal depression. And I’m hoping that this tragedy of this loss- in 2014 this thing that we should have been dealing with for decades now– and solved already– will finally come to light. He didnt go weak. He didn’t slide back. He was hit with a perfect storm of horrific events and his legacy deserves to have the right story told about him. And I’m going to miss him every day of my life.I think about him all of the time. I feel like a blue angel jet with no lead jet now. I don’t know if I’ll ever go that fast in improv again. We went sonic speeds. We were like two dogs hanging our heads out the car windows just flappin in the wind. We loved it. I don’t think we’ll ever see anyone quite like him ever again.
I’m very very lucky to have been there when it happened and to have been in the right place at the right time cause that’s what it was. Oh man… Robin…. We miss you.
Read more on Robin Williams. Soon after Robin’s death, Rick shared a story about his friendship with Robin with us, detailing a day he spent with Robin. You can read that here. Read film journalist Lesley Coffin’s remembrances of Robin Williams written the day he passed away. More on Rick Overton. You can listen to Rick’s podcast, “Overview” weekly and you can follow Rick on Twitter @RickOverton.