Robin Williams onstage during MTV’s Total Request Live | Peter Kramer/Getty Images
Robin McLaurin Williams was a stand-up comedian, actor, director, writer, and voice artist. He is often credited with resurrecting the comedy scene in Los Angeles in the mid-1970s. Many of us remember him for his roles as Mork and Mrs. Doubtfire, and his voice work as the genie in Aladdin. His improvisational skills afforded him a versatility rarely seen in live shows, leaving us with many funny Robin Williams quotes.
Robin Williams began to study theatre at the College of Marin. After studying for three years, he secured a scholarship at the Juilliard School in New York City. At Juilliard, he was one of only two students in the advanced program. His classmate, Christopher Reeve, recalled, “I’d never seen so much energy contained in one person. He was like an untied balloon that had been inflated and immediately released. I watched in awe as he virtually caromed off the walls of the classrooms and hallways.”
This energy coupled with his considerable improvisational skills led him into television, where he had his first hit with Mork & Mindy. Critic James Poniewozik described Williams’ performance in the show as “man and a child, buoyant, rubber-faced, an endless gusher of invention.” His mad combination of intense energy and comedic genius guided a career that quickly moved onto the big-screen.
Williams’ first major big-screen role was as the title character in 1980’s Popeye. While Popeye was an utter failure, it allowed him to display acting skills that eventually led to better roles in films such as Good Morning, Vietnam; Dead Poets Society; Good Will Hunting; and Mrs. Doubtfire, among many others.
Unfortunately, Williams’ private life was quite tragic. He battled many personal demons that led him to bouts with drug and alcohol addiction, both of which included outbreaks of paranoia and depression. These symptoms, combined with health issues may have contributed to Williams’ suicide on August 11, 2014.
A life led with so much vigor surrendered many quotable moments. We have compiled several Robin Williams quotes to help you remember the comedian whose genius may never be rivaled and to help inspire you to laugh during the low moments of your own life.
1. ‘You’re only given a little spark of madness, you mustn’t lose it!’
Elijah Wood and Robin Williams | Kevin Winter/Getty Images
2. ‘Some people say Jesus wasn’t Jewish. Of course he was Jewish. Thirty years old, single, lives with his parents, come on. He works in his father’s business, his mom thought he was God’s gift, he’s Jewish.’
Robin Williams at the 35th Annual People’s Choice Awards | Kevork Djansezian/Getty Image
3. ‘Never fight with an ugly person, they’ve got nothing to lose.’
A mural of Mrs. Doubtfire | Foter.com
4. ‘Cocaine is God’s way of saying you’re making too much money.’
Robin Williams in Jumanji | TriStar Pictures
5. ‘Ah yes, divorce … from the Latin word meaning to rip out a man’s genitals through his wallet.’
Robin Williams performs onstage | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
6. ‘Do you think God gets stoned? I think so … look at the platypus.’
Robin Williams appears onstage during MTV’s Total Request Live | Peter Kramer/Getty Images
7. ‘Why do they call it rush hour when nothing moves?’
Robin Williams at a charity bike ride | Joe Raedle/Newsmakers
8. ‘People think they know you. They expect you to be literally like you are on TV or in the movies, bouncing off the walls. A woman in an airport once said to me ‘Be zany!’ People always want goofy, zany sh-t from me. It takes a lot of energy to do that. If you do that all of the time, you will burn out.’
Robin Williams and his daughter Zelda | Kevin Winter/Getty Images
9. ‘We’ve had cloning in the South for years. It’s called cousins.’
Robin Williams speaks onstage | Kevin Winter/Getty Images for AFI
10. ‘Reality is just a crutch for people who can’t deal with drugs.’
Robin Williams at the Australian premiere of Happy Feet Two | Foter.com
11. ‘Death is nature’s way of saying, ‘Your table is ready.”
A painting of Robin Williams | Foter.com
12. ‘Do you think Adam said to Eve, ‘Back up, I don’t know how big this gets.”
Robin Williams performing | Foter.com
13. ‘I went to rehab in wine country, just to keep my options open.’
Robin Williams and Jamie Foxx | Robert Mora/Getty Images
14. ‘People say satire is dead. It’s not dead; it’s alive and living in the White House.’
Robin Williams talking onstage | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images
15. ‘Is it rude to Twitter during sex? To go ‘omg, omg, wtf, zzz.’ Is that rude?’
Robin WIlliams and Billy Crystal together in San Francisco | Greg Trott/Getty Images
16. ‘Having George W. Bush giving a lecture on business ethics is like having a leper give you a facial. It just doesn’t work.’
Robin William performs at a United Service Organization show | Foter.com