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Robin Williams dropped by the Zoo one night. Not to get too much into stereotypes, but there are two types of comedians - 1) shy/insecure, and 2) obnoxiously in your face.
Let me add a third type. There are intelligently aware comics, but since they aren't the norm, I didn't think of them off-hand right away. Robin is in the shy and then aware comics. He's either performing, or, you wouldn't even know he's there.
Again, any time Robin stopped in, it would be wall-to-wall in minutes. When Robin was on stage this evening, there was a guy standing in the audience who was impaired. I don't know if it was alcohol, drugs or bad parents and/or bosses, but let's just say his connection to reality wasn't running mainline.
He was standing... well, weaving, and screaming at Robin, "Do the Grateful Dead!" Robin, being intelligent, ignored him, but the guy kept screaming, "Do the Grateful Dead, goddamn it! C'mon! You're supposed to be such a great improviser! Do the Grateful Dead!"
I wasn't there that night and Cantu must have been up in the office, because we would have thrown the guy out. Pritchard walked in and saw that Robin was getting very, very nervous. Robin is not a big guy; Pritchard is.
Pritchard is about 6'5" and weighs way up in the hundreds of pounds, and, worked at Juvenile Hall as a, well, enforcer, and don't let "juvenile" mislead you - I performed there once. Those kids were linebackers. You needed someone of Pritchard's bulk to lend an air of authority. That's my polite way of expressing it.
Pritchard sized up the situation and pushed his way through the crowd until he was standing directly behind the guy screaming, "Do the Grateful Dead, you asshole!" Robin, who doesn't miss anything, looked out and said, almost to himself, almost beneath his breath, "Oh... the big guy's here."
Robin had his guardian angel. Robin could then be Robin.
I've seen Robin on Carson and on Barbara Walters. When Robin hits his stride, well, let out the floodgates. Carson had the intelligence to sit back, laugh, shrug his shoulders and appreciate it. Walters looked like a deer in the headlights. I would have felt sorry for her except that I can't seeing pathetic people who are making tons more money than I am. It's a personality fault I have. Get's into being human.
So Robin, suddenly having a security blanket with "the big guy," eviscerated. He turned to the Grateful Dead aficionado and screamed, "You scum-sucking maggot infested..." and carried on for about a minute with every derogatory term his computer mind could generate, at a machine-gun pace.
The guy was so stunned - I'm not sure if you can accurately say you can be hit with words, but coming from Robin, well, maybe - the guy stepped back.
That was the force of what Robin was doing. When the guy stepped back, he bumped into Pritchard, who loomed over him and said, "I think you should leave."
End of drama. And, a happy ending, i.e., no tragedy. No guns were produced, but, it was the '80s before guns became such popular dispute settlers.
"minutes" Cantu notes: Robin Williams showed up at the 'Zoo' one night just as I was locking up early for some now forgotten reason at 1:30 am.
"Oh, closed already, Cantu?" said Robin.
"Robin, if you want to do a set, I'll re-open."
In three minute he was on stage. Within nine minutes we had standing room only. On a Monday night!!! Now, that's what I call a 'good' spot.
Talent and hard work is what succeeds in the long run - not getting a "good' spot. Any spot is a good spot, if you are funny, talented, and entertaining.