(I was really saddened to hear about the death of Robin Williams yesterday. After I heard the news, I immediately thought back to the night in 2008 that I was lucky enough to perform with him and my UCB Harold group “Bangs.” It was a truly magical night. Below is a blog post I wrote the day after the performance. I figured it was worth re-posting.)
This past Tuesday was one of most amazing nights of my life. Robin Williams dropped in at The Upright Citizens Brigade Theater wanting to perform, and joined my improv group, Bangs, for our show. Unbelievable.
At first I thought it was a joke. Sean Clements whispered to me in the greenroom, “Robin Williams is performing with us,” and I thought, “great…we’re playing a trick on Tricia.” Then someone said, “look who’s sitting on the couch in the green shirt.” Then it all came together in my head. Bangs is performing with Robin Williams.
It’s hard to sum up the night, because it had an infinite amount of highlights, so I’ll just mention a few.
— Warming up with Robin Williams was amazing. He participated in all our silliness and at the end when we did our ritual of chanting and putting our hands in the middle, we all followed his hands up and had them raised in the air chanting. When it was over he said something like “The Hitler youth returns.”
— Coming out on stage. The crowd had no idea what they were in for, and when people realized what was going on, it was a wall of sound. Clapping and yelling. We all had huge smiles on our faces — it was pure joy.
—The performance was unreal from beginning to end. Everyone was so supportive and made huge moves. Robin Williams injected a ridiculous sense of fun and confidence. Seeing him on the back line watching us perform was so great. He was smiling and laughing the entire time.
— Afterwards he asked us if we should get notes, which we all thought was pretty awesome. We didn’t get notes, but we talked about the show. He loved our opening, the scene painting, and said how great it was for drawing information for new scenes. He also said how great it was to do improv since he’s been doing stand-up a lot recently (his next stop is Ottawa to do some shows).
—A note on how cool he is: He knows everyone. After the show he was trying to figure out the name of the “other famous Australian actor” — because he was trying to think of another reference he could have used in a scene where we all played Hugh Jackman. Sean said “Paul Hogan.” Robin Williams was like “no a current actor,” and I jokingly said “Yahoo Serious,” expecting a chuckle from him, instead, he looked down and said “he’s a good guy.” That was amazing…and he was trying to think of Russell Crowe.
Photos Courtesy of Ari Scott and Devlyn Corrigan
Originally posted Wednesday November 19th, 2008