12 Robin Williams Quotes On Life And Laughter

Drake Baer

Robin Williams died Monday night, leaving lasting films like "Good Morning Vietnam, "Mrs. Doubtfire," "Good Will Hunting," and "Aladdin."

The response to his death has been overwhelming.

James Lipton, the great interviewer of actors, said that Williams was one of a kind

"His gift was the most mysterious of all gifts," Lipton said. "It was genius. Genius is inexplicable. ... You can teach craft. You can teach technique. You can't teach genius."

See inside the mind of a genius through his own words. Here are a dozen of Williams' most inspirational quotes. 

On his favorite impersonation

"Oh my god, Jack Nicholson. He once was with me at a benefit and leaned over and said 'even oysters have enemies.' In a very intense voice. I responded with, 'Increase your dosage.'

"Dana Carvey does my personal favorite impression of myself. It's accurate. And kind."

[Reddit AMA, 2013]

On wonder

"My children give me a great sense of wonder. Just to see them develop into these extraordinary human beings. And a favorite book as a child? Growing up, it was 'The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe' — I would read the whole C.S. Lewis series out loud to my kids. I was once reading to Zelda, and she said 'don't do any voices. Just read it as yourself.' So I did, I just read it straight, and she said 'that's better.'" 

[Reddit AMA, 2013]

On raising kids

"Everyone has these two visions when they hold their child for the first time. The first is your child as an adult saying, 'I want to thank the Nobel Committee for this award.' The other is, 'You want fries with that?'"

[RV: Runaway Vacation, 2006]

On staying weird

"You're only given one little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it."

[The Los Angeles Times, 2014]

On creation

"Do you think God gets stoned? I think so ... look at the platypus."

[Time, 2014]

On the role of comedy

"Comedy can be a cathartic way to deal with personal trauma."

[Parade, 2013]

On keeping it real

"Beer commercials usually show big men, manly men, doing manly things: 'You've just killed a small animal. It's time for a light beer.' Why not have a realistic beer commercial, with a realistic thing about beer, where someone goes, 'It's five o'clock in the morning. You've just pissed on a dumpster. It's Miller time.'"

["A Night At The Met," 1986]

On his best audience

"I do those because it’s like the real version of Good Morning, Vietnam, meeting people and seeing what I can do to help. They’re the best audiences I’ve ever had. The most powerful experience is visiting the wounded in hospitals. A friend of mine’s doing a program in San Francisco at a veterans’ hospital, getting them to do improv comedy as therapy. And it’s really helping."

[Parade, 2013]

On making your own opportunities

"The genie was only supposed to be a few lines, but I asked 'Do you mind if I try something?’ and went off to the recording studio. I emerged, 22 hours later, with a stream-of-consciousness improvisation in 41 characters."

[The Telegraph UK, 2011]

On his childhood

"I was raised by a mother who was a Christian Scientist. I call her a Christian Dior Scientist. She is basically optimistic, which is frightening sometimes. On the other hand, I was also raised by a father who was a veteran who had been blown across a bridge in a kamikaze attack and who was left to die. So he gave me one view and she gave me another, and between the two of them basically you function.

"And that's how I lived. He was very much a realist about his life. And she took the optimistic road where everything was wonderful and blueberries and happiness. And between the two of them, they named me Carolina — no! They gave me both sides of the deal."

[The Hartford Courant, 1998]

On living in San Francisco

It's like "living in Switzerland during a nuclear war."

[Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, 2002]

On play

"It's great to play ... Who wants to be deeply serious all the time? That would suck, I think. But I'm just now getting to the point where you realize, 'Wait, you don't have to play all the time.' It's exhausting, and you have to save something for when you come home. [My former wife] Marsha gets asked that all the time: 'He must be really wild at home!' The truth is that if I were, she wouldn't be alive. That type of freneticism is insane."

[Rolling Stone, 1991]

Now that you've met comedic genius, met scientific genius.

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