If you have seen TMBG live, we have a new compilation that gathers so much of our current repertoire it will be perfect for you! It’s IDLEWILD! Just out this week. Download the LP direct now: http://bit.ly/1kihhvj Here’s one of the tracks, The Mesopotamians…
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.
I know there’s a deluge of Robin Williams stuff from everybody and I put off writing or posting much about him. But, it’s just affecting me so god damn fucking much that I’ll just do it.
Finding out about the news of Robin Williams stopped me dead in my tracks.I was walking when I got two simultaneous texts telling me the news, causing me to not be able to move my feet. I was dumbfounded.
Many thoughts ran through my head at that moment, mainly of my friends Bob and Mason who have had a lifetime being as close to Robin as family. Like many comics I immediately recalled the times he came around the UCB theater and would be riffing with everybody in-between slamming pint glasses of vodka. Or when a clean and sober Robin came to The Meltdown show with his daughter and after the beckoning of Kumail, went and performed on our stage.
My wife and I spent Easter with him last year. He was just this mellow, kind-hearted man who even if he wasn’t doing his signature, mile a minute, stream of conciousness comedy, he could still make you laugh with his quiet charm.
Everybody talks about how he gave so much time to everybody he met. He was a giver. In the back room of a comedy show he was just another comic but understood that any little interaction with anybody in that room could mean a lifetime of joy for them. So he gave it. Non stop he gave everybody some sort of happy, nice moment.
I’ve sobbed a number of times since hearing. Growing up wanting to be a comic, for me, was essentially wanting what Robin Williams had. He did stand up, sketch, TV Comedy, Film Comedy, and gave some of the most dramatic performances I’ve ever seen. He was the monolith that a lot of us aspired to. It seemingly was possible. To be able to do comedy, act, and most importantly be a really good hearted person. He didn’t need to act like a celebrity. He didn’t need to be afraid if people just wanted something from him. He never retreated because of his stature in the business. He stayed true to the nice guy that started doing comedy all those years ago.
It scares me that he did it. When you start comedy, you think it’s always gonna be the next thing that makes it feel real and makes you fulfilled:
“Not this open mic, i gotta do good at THAT OPEN MIC.”
“Once I’m booked in THAT room, that’s when it’ll feel real.”
“Okay, once I get a TV spot…that’s when I can relax.”
“Nevermind, once I get a NETWORK TV spot…”
“Once I get a writing job….”
“Once I get a better one…”
“When I get a role on a show…I’ll feel better…”
“Once THIS…then THAT…”
Clearly, none of the successes of any of this stuff can make you truly happy. Case in point: Robin Williams.
I am very much guilty of never being satisfied of rarely “enjoying my burrito”. If the guy I aspired to be couldn’t find it at the top, then maybe we’re on the wrong mountain. Or maybe it’s the way we perceive the mountain. Maybe it doesn’t matter whereabouts on the mountain you are, it’s about being happy and working on being a good person to your friends and family and also a good person to everybody you meet.
This happening at this time in my life is a good reminder to find happiness first. A reminder that I shouldn’t go looking for it in fame, money, success or in other people. Find a way to be happy with yourself.
ENJOY YOUR BURRITO
May 28th, 1998
Phil Hartman passed away 16 years ago today
He continues to be my inspiration even though he no longer here with us
RIP Phillip Edward Hartman
Sept. 24th, 1948 - May 28th, 1998
I was just talking about how fucking amazing Phil Hartman was while out at dinner with a friend last night…