What a sad month for the comedy world.
First Robin Williams shocking suicide, and now the unexpected passing of Joan Rivers. Two comedy legends gone within a month. That’s a huge comedy vacuum in the icon threshold.
I was lucky to meet Robin Williams many times. Starting comedy in San Francisco it was hard not to cross paths with him on the scene. Even as one of the biggest stars in the world he’d still pop out to the clubs and open mics to work on his own act. Needless to say it was intimidating to be performing onstage and see one of the greatest minds in comedy walk in behind the audience. Robin was always kind and friendly. He never had an entourage and was incredibly approachable.
Undoubtedly my most treasured Robin memory was when he showed up at a screening of my documentary “Dying to do Letterman” when it was screening in Marin. Not only did he stay for the whole movie he came backstage and gushed about it afterward. The man whose movies I grew up watching was complimenting mine. Surreal. Watch Here.
I never had the privilege of meeting Joan Rivers but I always loved her humor. And I loved the way she made other people laugh. It was a different laugh–like they shouldn’t be laughing. It was caustic and in your face. I loved seeing my mom laugh when Joan hosted the Tonight Show. Every woman comic owes a debt to Joan Rivers. She earned the label comedian…not comedienne. She was as good as anyone.
Just as the angels in heaven get a pause from Robin’s non-stop jokes they will see Joan striding through the gates. I don’t envy their sides–they will be hurting for some time.