I met Robin Williams in San Francisco when I was twenty. The year was 1982 and he was performing stand up comedy at a place called the "Holy Terror Zoo" which is where he got his start in comedy if I'm not mistaken. I was a student at USF at the time and some friends invited me to go along with them to see him perform (I was driving). We got there and had settled in and it was very crowded. I saw Mr. Williams standing with a drink in his hand and I approached him. I held out my hand and said, "Hi, you're the guy from Mork & Mindy". He smiled and then quickly turned away to go back to the bar. Actually, his first movie had just come out which was "The World According to Garp" and I had seen it recently. The film was not a critical success and Williams had just finished his series (Mork & Mindy). He was not yet known as a big movie star, though his TV show had been a success. I recall he performed as a DJ in Vietnam, and this act was later incorporated into a feature length movie. He also did some other characters but I can't recall what else he did. I am not a big fan of this type of frenetic comedymonologue but I was nonetheless impressed and I could clearly see he had special and unique which set him apart. Afterward, he and another comic who had performed that night (I think it was Paula Poundstone but I'm not sure) invited me to come over and shoot pool with them. Unfortunately, I had to decline as my three female companions, who were foreign students and did not drive, did not want to go. I desperately wanted to accept the invitation but could not. However I consider myself extremely lucky just the same that I was one of the few who was able to see him perform up close and personal before he became a big star. This is such a tragedy, one that under different circumstances could have been prevented. I do understand what he felt to a certain degree because I am also chronically depressed and have been taking anti-depressant for nearly four years now. I'm sure he is up there now with the likes of Sid Ceasar having a ball now.
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