Robin Williams died this week. He’s still dead. It still sucks. And like clockwork, the tributes poured in.
The most interesting one came from Jay Thomas. You know Jay. Don’t you? Sure you do. He played the beloved character Remo DaVinci for a season and a half on Mork & Mindy.
So basically, the sitcom equivalent of The Great Gazoo on The Flintstones.
Jay weighed in with this heartfelt quote:
“I don’t know anyone that knew Robin Williams. He kept you at bay.”
Cool. A keen insight from someone who knew Robin Williams as an intimate, a friend. He continued;
“I don’t think I would have known Robin any better if we’d been pals for 30 years, than I did in the 3 years I spent with him.”
So Jay hasn’t seen Robin Williams for 30 years and yet he feels compelled to weigh in, not on only his death, but his ability to form lasting relationships.
Let’s do the math. You don’t think anyone can really know Robin Williams Jay, but you haven’t known him for 30 years?
Here’s some more math. The closer a friend was to Robin Williams, the less they have said about his passing.
Billy Crystal: “No Words.”
Bobcat Goldthwait: “Thank you for all your love and kindness.”
Kevin Pollak: “1991, my first one-hour HBO stand-up special and my HERO and selfless friend did me a HUGE, unforgettable solid….”
Jay, here is a tip. Next time the press approaches you to give a quote about a recently deceased icon whom you knew in passing, three decades ago, just say, “I’m sorry, I’m not qualified to comment.”
Choo, choo….choo, choo….
Hey, what’s that sound? Looks like the train back to obscurity is leaving. Hop on Jay!
And if you just have to shoot your mouth off, take a cue from Dana Gould on how to do it with class;
Two years ago, I was performing at The Punchline in San Francisco, and Robin came to the show with our mutual friend, Dan Spencer.
This particular batch of material was the first time I had touched upon my then still-fresh divorce wounds, and big chunks of it were pretty dark. The next day, I got a text from a number I didn’t recognize. Whoever it was had obviously been to the show and knew my number, so I figured they would reveal themselves at some point and save me the embarrassment of asking who they were.
The Mystery Texter asked how I was REALLY doing. “You can’t fool me. Some of those ‘jokes’ aren’t ‘jokes.” By now I knew that whoever this was had been through what I was enduring, as no one else would know to ask, “What time of day is the hardest?”
He wanted to know how my kids were handling it, all the while assuring me that the storm, as bleak as it was, would one day pass and that I was not, as I was then convinced, a terrible father for visiting a broken home upon my children.
I am not rewriting this story in retrospect to make it dramatic. I did not know who I was texting with. Finally, my phone blipped, and I saw, in a little green square, “Okay, pal. You got my number. Call me. I’ve been there. You’re going to be okay. – Robin.”
That is what you call a human being.