The thing about Robin Williams is that he was a part of so many iconic roles over the years that each generation stretching back four decades could remember some performance of his that deeply affected them. As Kieran Healy tweeted:
The natural impulse is to remember the bit or scene that defines someone as multi-talented as Williams. Vox’s Brad Plumer suggests one snippet of Williams from Good Morning, Vietnam as a demonstration of Williams’ insane talent. It’s not a bad suggestion. For me, however, it was his HBO comedy shows from the 1980s that first came to mind, particularly Live at the Met:
Each generation will mourn the version or role of Robin Williams that they first encountered. My memory will be of my brother and I laughing ourselves silly watching his manic energy as a stand-up comedian. Re-watching this for the first time in years, I remember Williams’ inflections, his physical grace. And I also remember sitting in my family room, laughing not because I was seeing my parents or friends laugh, but because Williams was funny to me. And I suspect that a few others might feel similarly.
Rest in peace.