It’s not cool to like Robin Williams. It’s fine, expected even, to make fun of him, comment on his hairy physique or accuse of him being a drug-snorting joke stealer, but to admit that you think he’s a good actor, let alone a funny comedian? NOPE. At least that’s the way it seems based on Twitter reactions to the news that Williams will star in a CBS comedy, Crazy Ones, written by David E. Kelley. Well, I’m here to say: I like Robin Williams.
That’s not to say he’s perfect. Some of his standup is cocaine-aided crazy talk that’s impossible to follow, and for about a five-year period in the mid-2000s, he starred in crappy movie after crappy movie after RV. BUT that doesn’t mean we should count out his fantastic dramatic roles, where he suppresses his manic persona below the surface, or his impossibly funny An Evening With Robin Williams special. Plus, the beard.
Here are 15 reasons why Robin Williams not be the greatest comedian of all-time, but he’s still pretty damn funny.
#1. Because his To Kill a Mockingbird-spoofing appearance on The Richard Pryor Show from 1977 as a lawyer defending a black male accused of raping a white female is still ahead of its time.
#2. Because creepy Robin Williams is the best, vol. I
#3. Because he’ll star in paycheck-earning crap like Happy Feet so he can afford roles like the titular father in the great World’s Greatest Dad.
#4. Because although Dead Poets Society isn’t as revelatory as your 13-year-old self believed it was, this line tells the stone cold truth (and Williams is very good in it).
#5. Because when he’s playing an understated character, like he did on Louie, he’s one of the finest actors around.
#6. Because as superb as Dan Castellaneta is as a voice actor on The Simpsons, his Genie was a weak imitation of Robin Williams’. He takes voice acting and kids movies roles just as seriously as he does in Oscar-bait films.
#7. Because creepy Robin Williams is the best, vol. 2
#8. Because despite his manic presence when he’s performing solo, he doesn’t try to one-up performers in sketches. He works with them, and sets up jokes, rather than stealing all the good ones for himself.
#9. Because in his 1986 wildly scattered standup special A Night at The Met, he crafted a bit around and acknowledged his dependence on a certain drug. Speaking of…
#10. Because it’s amusing to imagine Robin Williams taking on Rip Torn in a cocaine-off backstage at The Larry Sanders Show.
#11. Because he’s just a decent human being.
Williams’ most valuable contributions, [Christopher] Reeve attested again and again, were the simple gifts of friendship and laughter. At a tribute dinner in 1995, he described his first reunion with the comic in a hospital room five days after the accident that left him paralyzed:
“I was hanging upside down, and I looked and saw a blue scrub hat and yellow gown and heard this Russian accent. There was Robin Williams being some insane Russian doctor. I laughed, and I knew I was going to be all right.”
#12. Because he starred in the commercial for Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, a wonderful video game, and named his daughter after a character from the series.
#13. Because creepy Robin Williams is the best, vol. 3
#14. Because he’s a pro at interacting with audiences.
#15. Because, obviously.