I wrote this a couple days after he passed, and for whatever reason I felt the need to share it again. Happy Birthday Robin, you’re terribly missed.
August 14, 2014:
I never had the pleasure of meeting him in person, but Robin has been my hero since I was eight years old. I can remember mimicking the voices and impressions he would do, for friends to make them laugh. Probably the first time I was ever bitten by the comedy bug.
Watching him was also the first time I can remember ever howling with laughter. I’d never seen an adult with that much energy and joy to dispense at will. I immediately wanted to know more about him. I had to know more. How did he exist? What the hell is a comedian? Whatever he was I wanted to be it.
I found out he played alone as a kid, with his action figures. Same as me! Had a passion for comic books and video games, like me, and got picked on, just like I did. Knowing all that about him gave me hope that you could channel whatever loneliness and sadness you felt into something positive. Something funny. To a short kid with goofy hair and glasses that meant the world. And to the slightly taller (not by much) acne ridden bespectacled teen you see before you in the video below, it meant even more.
He was my gateway drug into comedy. Through him I found out what a comedian was and could be and I aspired to it. After I graduated high school and started doing Stand Up I also found out what kind of person he was through stories from other comics. My hero was a double threat. Kind, and dangerously funny. I think we all have something we shoot for even though we know we’ll never quite reach it, but it just makes you work that much harder.
I could go on, and I realize it may be strange to miss someone you’ve never even been in the same room with. As heartbreaking as his death has been, reading about all the lives he’s brought joy to and influenced over the years is incredibly heartwarming. For me his reach was transcendent. I only wish we could have reached back.
“The dullest people on earth are the ones who think they have to calm down and set a pattern for themselves. And that pattern dictates what they should be and gives them very little freedom to be who they are.” — Robin Williams