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O Captain My Captain, Robin Williams

Remembering Robin Williams

Five years ago today, we lost one of the greatest comedians in history. We lost the master of improv, Robin Williams.

Growing up, I knew Robin Williams best as the manic voice behind the Genie from Aladdin. To my parent’s generation, they started recognizing him as the quirky alien Mork from Mork and Mindy. No matter what role he was in, though, Robin always seemed to give it his all. Whenever he comes on camera, he just seemed to have this energy and love for life. He was practically the personification of laughter itself.

The key to Robin’s sense of humor and style of comedy was his improv. He would make up lines and do impersonations on the spot, without any help from directors. People just ate it up. Somewhere along the lines, I think people just stopped giving him a script to follow. They just told him what was going to happen in a scene and then let him go nuts.

Despite how happy and upbeat he may have seemed, on the inside, Robin dealt with problems with drugs, alcohol, and depression. He encouraged people to not let themselves suffer through their problems and to reach out to others for help. The thing I remember most about Robin Williams, though, is how he always seemed to give the most sage-like advice. He could go from hilarious on-screen one minute to serious the next. But he always knew what to say and who needed to hear it. He was like the cool uncle that everyone wishes they had.

When he died, it felt like the entire world went into mourning for him. Fans reached out to offer tributes and condolences. His friends and colleagues paid tributes. President Obama called him “one of a kind.” His daughter, Zelda Williams, summed up how everyone felt: that the world was a little bit darker without his light in it.

O Captain My Captain, We Ain’t Never Had a Friend Like You.

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