e lost a great one this week. I know with all the terrible things happening all over the world right now, losing a comedian may not have even crossed your radar screen. But Robin Williams was a national treasure.
Back in 1978, I was a college freshman. There was a new show on T.V. called “Mork and Mindy.” In those days you didn’t have television in many dorm rooms. My dorm room was barely big enough for our beds and an added closet system that seemed to take up more than its share of the room. We had one big meeting room with a regular family size television down the hall, and it would be packed – I mean, not one square inch of carpet left – when Mork from Ork came on each week. Robin Williams won us with his quirky voices and ad lib lines, which I’m certain delighted and horrified producers and directors. We all had a T.V. crush on Robin from the start.
Even in the early years of Robin’s success, he doubted that being a celebrity was truly a good thing. On one of the “Mork and Mindy” episodes, he actually addressed how fame could be a dream come true and a total loss of self at the same time. To be famous was like becoming everyone’s property. He felt that he couldn’t say no to anyone, and the expectations and demands on him were heavy.
Entertaining was his lifeblood. It was also his demise.
Laughter was what gave Robin life. I totally understand the energy of making others laugh, and I am not that funny. Depression is a common thread that runs through the lives of many comedians. I know it is a product of a few things: chemical imbalance, genetic predisposition, spiritual need; but it is also a personal struggle that few understand unless you’ve experienced it. It is not something you can just snap out of. You seek solitude but want help, you lash out and implode. It is horrible whether you see it as a disease or hard place.
There is hope for those who suffer with depression. Someone will listen, someone will pray for and with you, someone will write a prescription. It is not a sign of weakness to ask for help.
And even if it is through weakness that you reach out, who cares? Be weak, be needy! Just stay alive! Don’t chose a permanent solution for a temporary problem no matter how long you have been in the abyss.
It makes me sad thinking about the things going on in Robin’s head that led him to hang himself. I wish he had called someone, gone for a walk, listened to some healing uplifting music, prayed. I grieve for those close to him who will have a gaping hole in their lives going forward. I grieve the loss of thousands of laughs he still had in him and characters that will never get to live. I don’t believe there will ever be another like him. R.I.P. Robin.
Angie Brown is a humorist who loves being a wife, mother and grandmother. She lives in Opelika with her husband of 31 years and four of their seven children.