Thursday, August 28, 2014

Robin Williams' Golden Kermit award

This is late, but it's going up because a Golden Kermit, or  "Millions Of People Happy" award needs to go out to this man.

There's an impressive lineup of screen coolness to his credit, Good Morning Vietnam, The Birdcage, Dead Poets Society, The Fisher King, and What Dreams May Come just for ones I personally appreciate. But my all time favorite Robin Williams bit has always been An Evening At The Met from 1986. Was it his best material? Nah. It was his All Over The Place, his How The Hell Did You Segue To That, and his I'm Just Here Talking To My Friends About Life that makes it stand out for me.


Williams' improv was awe-inspiring. And he did plenty other inspiring, too.  He inspired people to take some things less seriously, like their dignity and pride, to take other things more seriously, like their compassion, and to forgive
Williams had great taste in friends
themselves for being human, or to not regard that as something that needs to be forgiven at all.

He certainly doesn't need to be forgiven for having parts of his head that didn't get along with the rest of the playground. His characters were frequently just people doing the best they could with what they had, and so was he. If his work as an actor and comedian was meant to make people see other people through a more forgiving lens, he accomplished that with some left over. We're poorer for the loss of that.

I owe Williams for being a lesson about seeing the absurdity in everything. Not necessarily a mocking, disdainful absurdity, but one that lends you the stones to be yourself because no one and nothing that tries to tear you down is as superior and perfect as it claims to be. I'm so heinously much richer for the gain of that.

Department Of Backstory: in The Muppet Movie, there's a bit that I consider to be distilled Jim Henson speaking through Kermit. Kermit is in the swamp, having just spoken to Dom Deluise as the talent agent about why he should go to Hollywood. Kermit thoughtfully repeats to himself Deluise' words, "Millions of people happy . . . .".  I think that was what Henson wanted for his life, and he made millions (if not more) people happy. How many people stand at the end of a life, and can say "I made millions of people happy"? 

We lost one of them August 11th. Williams made people belly laugh happy, and "I get you" happy, and Don't Worry Be Happy happy. I hope that in his Next Big Adventure, he's as gut-level happy as he made so many other people. (salutes)

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