V.23 No.32 |
Robin Williams and the death of our captain
I named this column Comedy Matters because I truly believe it does. It matters to the junkies and alcoholics who frequent open mics to work through their demons on stage. It matters to the headliners and road comics who travel from club to club each night for a living. It matters to writers and Hollywood execs who make millions off the laughter that rumbles in darkened theaters. It matters to cancer patients, widows and kids. Comedy strikes us over the head or starts slowly in our belly and bellows out of us warming our innards with a rush of happiness. So when a comic dies, we hurt. And today, we’re hurting because the world lost a great one.
Robin Williams started his career in San Francisco in the 70s and quickly became one the most absurd joy makers in the comedy world. His big break was when he landed the role of Mork in “Mork and Mindy” in 1978. He transformed into a prolific actor and comedian, appearing in films such as Dead Poets Society, The World According to Garp, Good Will Hunting and so many more; too many to list.
But this isn’t just about his qualifications or list of his films. He affected people in many ways. His fans loved him for his insane and wild energy. Comics loved him for how dedicated he was to comedy and how sweet he was despite his fame. He was a good man, a beloved man, who struggled with depression and an addiction to drugs and alcohol for the past forty years. On August 11, his struggled ended. Investigators believe his death may have been a suicide and to anyone who knew him or his history this would not be a surprise.
At the news of William’s death, Michael Ian Black tweeted, “We lose at least one great comic to suicide or ODs every year. Our jobs are to communicate, but we seem to not know how to ask for help.” Comedians don’t control the market on depression and substance abuse, but it seems to be a common theme amongst them. These issues manifest on stage to applause and laughter but they continue off stage and they grow and fester and strain relationships. And people die and then there’s nothing we can do.
Robin Williams brought a joy to the world that he couldn’t find internally. His family and friends are mourning. His wife and kids are shattered by his loss. And his fans will find it hard to replace this legend. Be in peace captain, we’ll miss you.
Genevieve Mueller is a writer and comedian. She performs all over the country and runs two monthly shows in Albuquerque: Comedians Power Hour and the Bad Penguin Comedy Show at The Box. More information can be found at genevievemuellercomedy.com or on Twitter: @fromthefloorup.
V.19 No.10 |
DayBird - March 16th
37 – Caligula becomes Roman Emperor after the death of his great uncle, Tiberius. He is a sound leader, beloved by all.
1322 – The Battle of Boroughbridge takes place in the First War of Scottish Independence. Ends with a public beheading.
1521 – Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan reached the Philippines, where he was killed by natives the following month.
1839 – John Butler Yeats Northern Irish artist (d. 1922)
1868 - Maxim Gorky Writer, Social activist, Playwright (d. 1936)
1916 –Tsutomu Yamaguchi, Japanese Businessman, and Survivor of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Atomic Bombings (d.2010). He survived both of them. Atrocities.
1968 – My Lai massacre. In what would become the most publicized war atrocity committed by U.S. troops in Vietnam, a platoon slaughters between 350 and 500 unarmed villagers at My Lai 4. Charlie Company, led by Lieutenant William Calley, entered one of the village's four hamlets, on a search-and-destroy mission. Instead of guerrilla fighters, they found unarmed villagers, most of them women, children and old men. Quickly escalates to soldiers raping and torturing villagers before killing them and dragging dozens of people, including young children and babies, into a ditch and executing them. The massacre ended when an Army helicopter pilot, Warrant Officer Hugh Thompson, landed his aircraft between the soldiers and the retreating villagers. The helicopter crew were later decorated for their actions with the Soldier's Medals. William Calley was the only one convicted, he served only three years of an original life sentence, while on house arrest. It is a little too early for atrocities this morning.
1984 – William Buckley, the CIA station chief in Beirut, Lebanon, is kidnapped. He dies after being held captive by members of Hezbollah.
1995 – Mississippi formally ratifies the Thirteenth Amendment, becoming the last state to approve the abolition of slavery. The Thirteenth Amendment was officially ratified in 1865.
2005 - A judge sends Scott Peterson to death row for the slaying of his pregnant wife, Laci. While a jury in Los Angeles acquits actor Robert Blake of murder in the shooting death of his wife.
wow. sadness and despair. The Ides of March were quite uplifting in comparison. Flavor Flav was born?
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