Will we ever laugh again?

I was in elementary school when “Mork & Mindy” was a hit. Nanu nanu? Not for me. Maybe I was turned off by the rainbow suspenders. 

Over the years my dislike of Robin Williams’ brand of frenetic, dated humor only grew. I have even less tolerance for his mawkish turns in “Dead Poets Society” and “Patch Adams,” which, according to one critic, “Indulges to the hilt every obnoxious, hyperactive, oh-what-I-wouldn’t-give-for-a-tranquilizer-gun aspect of Robin Williams’ performing style.”.

See, I was not alone. You wouldn’t know that now. 

I’m not suggesting people should trash a guy when he’s dead. And if I thought any of his family members or friends read this blog, I wouldn’t be posting this. 

But this latest example of our culture’s desperation for communal experience has gone too far. Social media was awash in Huffington Post-like tributes of 140 characters or less — “The moment we all fell in love with Robin Williams.” Speak for yourself. 

Look, if Mr. T and Nancy Reagan jokes are you thing, go ahead and mourn. To everyone else, let’s curb the phon. 

We’re told he was a nice man, and his under-the-radar USO appearances bear that out. But as a comedian and he was not my cup of tea. That doesn’t make me a bad person.  

I just hope I die before Adam Sandler does. 

3 responses to “Will we ever laugh again?”

  1. I’m right there with you. The best thing I saw him do was his “Origin of Golf” bit, and that’s not even as good as Bob Newhart trying to explain baseball over the phone. The difficulty here is that he started doing kids’ movies after I was a kid, but during the childhoods of a many a social media babbler.

    Nothing against the guy, and I’ve enjoyed a few performances of his, but I noted his passing with a resounding “Huh. Oh, well.”

  2. I never saw “Mork and Mindy” and all I knew about him for a long time was he was there the night Belushi died. His stand-up material on occasion was blindingly funny, and his turn as the genie in “Aladdin” is pure gold. His best film probably is “One Hour Photo”. But like Jim Carrey, the manic stuff gets old very quickly, though Williams was never, to me, quite as off-putting as Jim Carrey always is.

  3. I don’t think it’s wrong or odd that you disliked his humor/persona, nor is it wrong for you to refuse to feign grief at his death.. Obviously, millions did enjoy him as an actor/stand-up comic, and will miss seeing him perform in new outlets, and it seems many people personally benefited from his generosity in his private life. However, the mass mourning, even among non-fans, is not unexpected in the case of the sudden death of a very famous, well-liked, accessible public figure, particularly when that person is generally known as an over-the-top always “on” comedian…even more so when that sudden death is a violent, self-inflicted one. So…your dislike of his comedy/projects aside, his death is significant because it gives many of us pause to wonder if such a struggle could be going on within someone we know and love…or within ourselves.

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