Handsome Little Devil

I recently performed at the Throckmorton Theater in Mill Valley, California, my favorite little theater with the best audiences in the country. Robin Williams was in the greenroom. He wasn’t performing.   Apparently, he lives nearby and likes to pop in to be around other comics.  I met him two other times when I performed at the Throck.   I’ve never said anything to him other than “Hi, I’m Maureen,” to which he’s responded, “Hello, I’m Robin.”

Each time I’ve been there, he’s been gracious, holding real conversations with the other comics – some famous like Mort Sahl, others known only to the local comedy community. And each time, I sat back and took it in.

This time I asked Robin if I could ask him a question for my blog, which was ridiculous to ask because I should have just asked the damn question and not asked if I could ask. Sometimes, I forget that I’m not a reporter anymore and still feel a responsibility to ask if a conversation can be “on the record.” I have this thing about respecting people’s privacy. I’d never make it as a journalist  today.   Sure, I have the cleavage, but I don’t have the blonde hair. Plus, I have standards. Crazy me.

My question wasn’t anything monumental.  After hearing too many comics talking about masturbating on their roommate’s computer,  I wanted to know:  Is comedy different today, more base, than when you were working the clubs?”

“Oh, no,” he said instantly, “there are many terrific comics out there.” He started to name names and then stopped in mid-sentence. “Please don’t repeat that. I don’t want to leave anyone out. There are so many who are good, many who are my friends, and I wouldn’t want to disrespect any of them by forgetting to include them.”        Not a word.

He went on to say, “Comedy isn’t different today. It’s always had its low points, but it has its moments that are like listening to great jazz. You walk into a club and you hear someone unique and wonderful and you realize you have come across a talented performer and you think ‘yes there it is!’”

“You really like comics, don’t you?” I said.

“You bet I do.”

8 replies
  1. Bob
    Bob says:

    Comedy is as crass today as it was 20 years ago. Think about it… George Carlin didn’t talk about masturbating on his typewriter (hey: did you know nobody makes those things anymore?) but, when I saw him live, he offered up a good ten minutes of rape jokes (“Lighten up!” he scolded). I didn’t think they were funny.

    Then there was Bill Hicks, who was very loud. Totie Fields could get pretty crude, too, I understand.

    Could that be why they are no longer alive? Hmm…

  2. Julio CAGE Martinez
    Julio CAGE Martinez says:

    Everyone I know, who has met Robin Williams or has even been in his presence, agrees with what you mention here. They speak about his grace & modesty (hard to believe when he’s bigger than life the times he’s “on”).
    Ironically, I don’t find him that funny yet I truly appreciate his genius; don’t shoot me, in my opinion most comedy is subjective.
    With that said, I would be honored to know the man-I think I would be more entertained & enlightened by his heart than his humor.
    You are climbing mountains you so richly deserve, I knew that looonnnggg ago when I had the pleasure of first hearing you kill at “The Duplex”-I was laughing loudest!
    Kudos baby–love you Julio-CAGE

  3. Diane Dimond
    Diane Dimond says:

    Mo-mo! So proud of you…. There you were rubbing shoulders with the likes of Mr. Robin Williams (said with your Irish brogue, of course!)

    Now, tell me you whispered in his ear, “How do I get myself booked on the Tonight Show?” He’s on so often he’d be able to help you I bet! You so deserve to be on that Show!

    • Maureen Langan
      Maureen Langan says:

      Sure DD – I asked him to get me on The Tonight Show, put me in a movie, buy me house. “Anything for you Maureen,” he said. Seriously, I’m working on the Tonight Show thing. I’d love to make it happen. But you want to give this industry a good laugh, tell them YOUR plans! xo


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