In the last 24 hours, a lot of my fellow Seattle comedians have been sharing stories about the time Robin Williams unexpectedly showed up to a comedy show at the Re-Bar. This was about 5 or 6 years ago or so when he was in town filming World's Greatest Dad or something else maybe, I'm not quite sure. Either way, he strolled in and stole the show. It was a specially themed night celebrating the birthday of the headlining comedian, but as soon as Robin hit the stage, it was all about him. He effortlessly adlibbed an entire speech about the headliner that he never met in between interacting with the crowd and cracking jokes while pretending to work the front door. It was amazing and I had the pleasure of briefly speaking to him which was just saying a stupid joke which he sort of laughed at. Either way, I don't really want to tell that story. Instead I wanted to share a different more bizarre story how his career made my life better.
When I was a kid I lived in a house in Lewis County near the Chehalis river that flooded when the rain hit hard. One particular time when I was about 10 or 11, the flooding was fairly bad and rose up high enough it reached indoors so my whole family was forced to retreat to the upper floor of the house which was my bedroom. For two days we were stuck upstairs with little food, no electricity, bottled water and very little to entertain us. In order to go to the bathroom we had to pee in cups and throw it out of my bedroom window. My mom had grabbed our Aladdin cups from Burger King because they were big and plastic. What she didn't know was they also changed color in response to hot or cold liquid.
This of course means my only moments of joy in that depressing two day siege in which I knew our house and many of our belongings were being destroyed were the short moments of respite in which I could pee into my Aladdin cup which would change from blue to pink while I sang the part from the Genie's song "Friend Like Me" where Robin sings, "Mr. Aladdin sir, what will your pleasure be?" Yeah, I know. I'm gross. But it's just one of the bizarre and random ways Robin Williams has made me laugh in times of sadness. That house would go on to flood completely in my 20's, but luckily my family that was still living there at the time made it out okay. The house, however, did not and is now a piece of my childhood that is gone forever just like Robin Williams.
Rest in peace and thanks for all the happy thoughts. I only wish you had more of your own.