Laughing with Robin Williams

If you’re old enough (or are a “Nick at Night” fan), do you remember an episode of Mork & Mindy where, at Christmas time, Mindy was showing Mork her Gucci angel and then had to explain what angels were? And then Mork took the Gucci angel in his hands, lifted it up and launched it, saying, “Fly, little angel, be free!” Crash, tinkle, tinkle.

That’s one of my favorite comedy lines ever, and Mork & Mindy was where I first met Robin Williams. Throughout his career, it was the greatest fun trying to figure out what was actually in the script and what he simply ad-libbed. We recognized most of the references in Mrs. Doubtfire, but are still trying to figure out some of the ones from Aladdin‘s genie.  And his portrayal of the genie is what, in my mind, began shifting kids cartoons into something that could be thoroughly enjoyed by adults at the same time.

With the help of IMDB, here are some fond memories:

Robin Williams Mrs DDaniel: [Posing as a caller for the housekeeper ad] I am job.

Miranda: Do you speak English?

Daniel: I am job.

Miranda: I’m sorry, the position has been filled. [Hangs up] [Answers phone again] Hello?

Daniel: [This time with a southern drawl] … Aaaaaargh! Laila, get back into your cell! Don’t make me get the hose! Hello?


Robin Williams-Aladdin3192

image courtesy of

Aladdin: You’re a prisoner?

Genie: It’s all part and parcel, the whole genie gig.

[grows to a gigantic size] Phenomenal cosmic powers!

[shrinks down inside the lamp]   Itty bitty living space!


Robin Williams dead-poets-society-04

Dead Poets Society,

But some of Robin Williams’ roles had a lot of thought-provoking dialogue, both for creativity and for living life.  From Dead Poet’s Society:

John Keating: Why do I stand up here? Anybody?

Dalton: To feel taller!

John Keating: No! [Dings a bell with his foot] Thank you for playing Mr. Dalton. I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way.


And while the humor is what first fills my mind when I think of Robin Williams, this quote is the advice to live by:

John Keating: They’re not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of hormones, just like you. Invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they’re destined for great things, just like many of you, their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because, you see gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? – – Carpe – – hear it? – – Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.

Goodbye, Mr. Williams, and be at peace.  We’ll miss you.

(And before I forget, dear reader, do you have a favorite Robin Williams movie moment?  Please share!)

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5 Responses to Laughing with Robin Williams

  1. Lovely post, Jen.
    Especially like the “keating” quote.
    He will be missed.

  2. He had a phenomenal talent and a great mind! I loved just about everything he was in. I hope he is at peace now and someone is making him laugh hysterically!
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  3. Jennifer Jensen says:

    Hey there, Suzanne & Kassandra! I also hope someone’s making him laugh, but I rather imagine everyone there is in hysterics themselves, especially my dad!

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Thanks so much for this beautiful memorial to a brilliant, tormented mind. You hit on my favorite RW movie – Dead Poet Society. So many great moments from that! Some filled with wisdom – his love of Walt Whitman and HDThoreau (sp?) And some just for laughs: “phone call from God…if it had been collect, now that would have been daring!”

    Of course, who can forget his side-splitting free-for-all on the mic in Good Morning, Vietnam? Or “seeing as how the VP is such a VIP, shouldn’t we keep the PC on the QT? Because if it leaks to the VC he could end up an MIA then we’ll all be put on KP.”
    This world will be a lesser place without him.

    • Jennifer Jensen says:

      Oh, I had forgotten the Good Morning Vietnam line with all the acronyms! Good call, and thanks for another laugh this afternoon!