By John S. Locke
I first saw Robin Williams on ‘Happy Days’, the classic American TV sitcom when I was a wide-eyed kid – he was electric!
He was like a comedy Elvis! He was a comedic whirlwind – he changed comedy completely from that point onwards.
This lightning rod, who zapped out of the big telly box and lit up our small 1970′s North Walian living room, was a laughter bolt which energised, enthralled and entertained like none before him.
He literally stole the show from Henry Winkler and Ron Howard and the rest of the cast of Happy Days. The perfectly cast ‘out of this world’ alien Mork soon had his own show ‘Mork and Mindy’. Robin Williams was centre of the world wide, show business stage from then on.
He was a complete genius at improv and stand up.
Most importantly he understood the importance of pathos, the most sensitive side of comedy, perfectly. He used it as a tool in his work throughout his career. This deep, sensitive and natural understanding was probably due to the darker side of his own character, nature and personality.
He stayed energetic and anarchic, on the edge and a little bit crazy throughout all of his career.
In his stand up, his acting, his understanding and ability and his use of pathos as a comedian and performer was almost peerless.
This makes his passing, possibly at his own hand, all the sadder.
When a man or woman with the trappings of fame and success takes his own life we are all aghast and wonder why. What dark thoughts and pain can cause someone with seemingly everything to live for to slide into such a bleak and empty place as to want to end it all?
Depression is a cloud which comes and goes like the elements, but for some that cloud never shifts or goes away.
Clowns and entertainers often walk with the black dog of depression by their side throughout life, it is often what gives them the slightly skewed perspective to create their comedic view of the world we all live in.
Suicide is not the act of a coward. It is the act of someone who feels they have been on this stage long enough, they have no more to say, no lines left to speak.
The tears of a clown are rarely seen but the joy and laughter they give us are always remembered. The lyrics of Smokey Robinson’s classic have never seemed more appropriate.
I hope Robin Williams finds the peace he struggled to find in life. I am sure the love felt for him at his passing will reach and touch him in whichever dimension he now graces.
May his God go with him. May his loved ones welcome him onto the stage with much love and rapturous applause as he leaves this mortal coil for the next big gig in the sky. x