Jeffrey Gurian loves to Jump Around. Follow his regular column, right here, to find out what’s happening in comedy, and who Jeffrey Gurian ran into this week in and around New York. Today, a special extra column, where Jeffrey talked with Rick Overton, about his long time friendship with Robin Williams.
So, Rick Overton called me from Los Angeles, to announce his return to stand-up. If you’re not familiar with the name, you should be, and you definitely know his work. Rick has been doing films and TV for so long, and has an impressive career. He’s an Emmy award winning writer for his work on Dennis Miller Live, and he’s had great roles in films like Groundhog Day, Willow, Bad Teacher, and Dinner for Schmucks just to name a few. And on a side note, Rick has told me he believes that one cannot attain true happiness without serotonin! And he was in my book Make ‘Em Laugh.
Now Rick is ready to take on some new challenges and get back to his first love, pure stand-up comedy. He’s got a bunch of dates set up in Los Angeles, and he’s going to be appearing at The Zeitgeist Festival, and wanted to let me know of his plans.
Rick was also a close and longtime friend of Robin Williams — since the 70’s, in fact. Soon after Robin died, he told the LA Times that Robin had started to disconnect more recently. “He wasn’t returning calls as much. He would send texts and things like that, but they would get shorter and shorter.”
This week, he shared with me a different memory about a day he spent visiting Robin, that I wanted to share with you. So here’s a personal story about the typical day that he chose to share, about what it was like hanging out with Robin Williams, in his own words:
I’d visit Robin up in northern Cali and he would say “I need to ride my bike for a couple of hours today.” Most people just want to ride. It was a bigger thing to him. Perhaps not unlike a cross between a Zen Garden and a locomotive. His collection of bicycles was enormous. Some as light as a feather.
He would loan me a city cruiser bike and off we’d go up and down the hilly terrain of Marin. I’d try to stay conversant, feigning being cool while my right knee started making a click and pop sound like a Ping Pong game. “Hope I’m not holding you up” I wheezed as we trundled up the hill. I was putting full body weight on the pedals, and he was casually tall gearing his way up the hill without a drop of sweat! Insane. (Keep in mind that he was pals with none other than Lance Armstrong, and rode with him at times!!) so there we are at a steep angle.
I can’t make any words come out now, just putting on my game face and trying not to blow out my knee. He looks back and sees me right behind him, so he starts speeding up and speeding up until it seems as if he is riding a motorcycle. But the motor was him. It was a sight to see. I finally caught up with him a couple of miles down the road. I’d pretty much gotten by breath back and so trundled over like I’m a runner up. He’s there grinning.
I said “What do I get for second place?”
He tossed me his water bottle, and said “Sip slowly, sir” A true Zen master.
You can follow Rick on twitter @RickOverton or visit RickOverton.net.
Here’s a clip of Rick and Robin performing together back in 2011.
Join me back again next Monday for my regular column where I talk about Jumping Around in New York with all the latest comedy gossip and news.
Jeffrey Gurian is a writer and comedian in New York. Visit his website at comedymatterstv.com, where you can watch his interviews with everyone in comedy who matters! Pictured below, Jeffrey and Rick Overton.