How Robin Williams Inspired Me To Act

I have always loved movies. I love the laughs, tears, and raw emotion it pulls from its audience. The one aspect of film and entertainment that impresses me the most is an individual’s power to spark bellowing laughter from their audience. I always believed that laughter was hard to ignite, until I came across Robin Williams.

Williams is by far my favorite comedian and artist of all time. His acting and comedy routines are sure to put a smile on my face no matter how many times I have seen them. I wanted to be able to instill this pure joy into people as well. I was always hesitant to try acting, so I would watch Williams’ movies and routines in awe and hope one day I may be able to do what he does so flawlessly. Although I have always been an outgoing person, being on stage was another world to me. In high school there were the same “theater kids” who were cast in every show. I never bothered to audition because I didn’t feel as though I could compete with them. Most of the students in the plays were not only phenomenal actors and actresses, but had amazing singing voices. I for one, can’t sing for my life, so that was certainly discouraging. Throughout high school I would watch the plays every year longing to be on stage with my peers.

(Image Credit to Syfy.com)

I continuously admired how much Robin Williams has persevered as a person as well as a performer. Robin Williams and his work had practically grown up with me. Williams starred in many Disney films such as Aladdin as the “Genie” and Mrs. Doubtfire. These movies were always able to put a smile on my face no matter what mood I had been in. As I grew older I began to watch his stand up routines and his talk show interviews. I loved how during these interviews Williams could take a simple comment and turn into a comedically genius spectacle.

What truly fascinated me about Robin Williams was his talent with physical humor; I had first witnessed him being full on physical during his interview on Craig Ferguson’s The Late Late Show. This interview has been labeled the best interview of all time, not because of the questions asked to Williams, but Williams’ ability to turn a normal interview into a comedy routine that will go down in history. It is full of crass language, outrageous physical spasms, and hilarious impressions. His physical humor and impressions had been insane throughout the interview and I don’t believe that anyone will ever be able to top the raw art that came from that one interview.

I have watched this interview countless times, especially when I need a pick-me-up. One of the times I was watching this interview, it hit me. Why couldn’t I try to bring the same joy to people he did? He had to start somewhere, so why shouldn’t I try? That’s when I decided to try out for a comedy troupe at Rutgers called the College Avenue Players (CAP). It was a complete risk, but I knew in my gut that I just had to go for it. Before the audition, I watched a portion of the Craig Ferguson’s The Late Late Show interview to hype me up a little bit. I took the joy and momentum that I felt from watching that interview and I just went for it. I walked in completed my audition and gave it everything I had and walked out feeling on cloud nine.

For me, this was my dream. Whether or not I get this small role in a college play, I did this. I was on my way to making people happy and sparking that joy. That was all I wanted.

About a week later I received an email from CAP, notifying me that I had gotten the part! I don’t remember a time that I felt that much joy over something so small in the longest time! Obviously, my role in one of Rutgers’ club’s is no leading role in the next blockbuster, but it was enough to spark joy within me.  The character I was casted to play had been in a nutshell, a crazy old lady whose main purpose was physical humor. The play I was cast in had been Suite Surrender, which is a play that takes place during WWII in the United States. A luxurious hotel is hosting a war benefit and starring two famous singers. However, the catch is that these actresses cannot be in the same room as one another; they despise each other. Due to a set of whacky inconveniences the two actresses end up sharing the same suite, but are unaware of the circumstance. Everyone in the hotel is forced to keep this secret from the two actresses.

My character had not been one of the diva actresses, but was Mrs. Everett P. Osgood, the wife to the owner of the hotel. She was ditsy and loved America and the war effort more than anyone. Her character had been completely built upon the implementation of physical humor. This was the role I had always wanted. I was going to be able to use the physical humor inspiration I had gotten from Williams and apply it to my performance. For many months I rehearsed and I memorized my lines. I would read my lines aloud to my mirror in my dorm trying out different physical humor techniques. I loved it. The more I rehearsed the more I realized how I should have put myself into the theatrical world sooner.

(Kate Dobbs)

I knew I had never would have gone for this opportunity if I hadn't been for Robin Williams' influence on my life. During many of Williams’ interviews, he would say how grateful he was for all he accomplished and how he worked so hard for what he wanted. I know that if I work hard enough I’ll be able to spread the same joy he did. I want to make people laugh. That is all I want, so having a successful start is truly motivating to continue my comedic future.