Hopefully the sad death of Robin Williams teaches us all a lesson

I don’t think there’s many people  who now don’t know that Robin Williams sadly committed suicide judging from the reaction I see on the news and online after coming home from work. All of the tributes and praise is entirely deserved, and there’s some seriously heartfelt praise for a man who did made some astonishingly good films and make some of the best stand up I’ve ever seen come out of the US.

One comment in among the praise stood out for me, and from all people it came from Mel Gibson. I’m paraphrasing slightly but it was of the effect that you only get one chance at life and he hopes he went to a good place. I found it an astonishingly hard comment and then thought about it and realised Gibson has a point. Yes, it can be argued that Williams was ‘selfish’ for killing himself, but those people doing so are wankers and they’ve never suffered from depression, let alone considered suicide but Gibson’s point is harsh, but it’s true. You get one chance and you make the best of it and Williams certainly made the best of it, but depression and addiction aren’t easy to shake off, if indeed, it’s possible to do so.

There’s going to be a lot of talk about why comics kill themselves, or torture themselves, and frankly, most of it will be rubbish but this article from Cracked deals with this brilliantly. It is however very hard for anyone to know what went through Williams’ head when he decided to take his life, but there is a point when you suffer from depression where a switch flicks and your brain tells you ‘fuck it, you’re done fighting‘ and if you’re lucky you get over it, & if not……

So what’s the lesson we can learn? I need to go back to Mel Gibson’s comment. You do only get one chance at this life. You need to do what you can with it and Williams did. The one thing we can learn is to to do what you can because no other fucker is going to do it for you. If you’re lucky you’ll get by and if you’re really lucky you’ll leave a legacy like Robin Williams. Sure, he made some seriously awful films for the money, but look at Good Will Hunting, or The Fisher King, or One Hour Photo and yes, even the vastly underappreciated Popeye and you’ll see not just a great comic talent but a great actor.

Mainly though he’ll be remembered for making people laugh and if you take your one chance at life to make people laugh then that’s good enough. I hope Williams has found peace and he’ll always be making people laugh so here’s one of the best bits of live stand up you’ll ever see and hear…

The man will be missed…..


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