from the moment i came to this country from puerto rico and landed in a sixth grade classroom at martin luther king elementary school in ann arbor, michigan, my peers called me “mork” - they thought i resembled robin williams.
you be the judge.
either way, i took the nickname as a supreme compliment.
i loved williams’s work as an actor. as a comedian, i truly consider him without peer.
"mork and mindy" - a series in its heyday when i was ten and trying to figure out what i was - was a weekly escape valve for this hyperkinetic, fast-talking misfit.
i listened to his records and watched his HBO specials like they were master classes: a lifeline to an anarchic, free-associative world of imagination run wild.
truly, i cannot overestimate the impact of robin williams’s work on me as an immigrant with a slightly skewed perspective and a desire to express myself. he made it more than okay to be weird and way off center - his comedy was an atomic explosion of connections between disparate ideas, tied together with critical masses of atomic absurdity, delivered with megatons of energy.
every time i watched my VHS tapes of his specials, my mind was altered for the better.
as with any person of extreme talent, many came to see williams as twee and exhausting.
none of that ever kept me from appreciating the man and his gifts - he was a true empath whose uncanny talent for emotional connection was always in evidence. even at his most wearyingly demanding, williams’s mind was clearly aflame with a need to express, a desire to relate, and a passion to entertain…
…and as with so many people with this drive, ambition, and need, the dark side of talent was every bit as powerful with robin williams, and ultimately seized the day.
today an entire generation of manic alien visitors whose comedy is a veil for a universe of emotion have lost their patron saint.