Robin Williams drops in
Reprinted from "GOOD DELIVERY: Unabashed House Organ of the North Bay Stand-Up Comics," Volume 1, issue i, April-May, 1983.
Saturday, May 14, Robin Williams dropped in at the weekly Jeremiah's Comedy Night in Santa Rosa, California, north of San Francisco. Williams did an impromptu hour-long performance for the crowd. He agreed to allow producer Jim Richardson to video tape the improvised performance for analysis by Richardson's Stand-Up Comedy Workshop. When asked if there were many such videos of him playing in small clubs, Williams shook his head with an adamant, "No. It really freaks me out, even when it's done for my TV specials."
Williams sprinkled his performance with many local references. Referring to the basement room where the comics perform between red carpeted walls, he commented in a nasal voice, "Thank you. It's a privilege to perform in a former discotheque. Now a car wash.
"I live somewhere near here. I can't exactly tell you where because some people from the hospital are here tonight." Williams then smiled madly, and made a hand gesture like slowly hacking the air with a knife. "Some man in the back going, 'No, tell us.'"
(The comedy king has a ranch near the city of Napa which is also home to a state mental hospital.)
"This does feel like home. 'Honey, I'm back.'" Williams bounced a couple of times off the rear wall of the stage like it was a padded cell. He looked deadpan at the audience. "I'm beyond jaded: I'm turquoise."
"There may be cockroaches in this club 5 years from now going, 'Hi, it's nice to have you all here.'" While the crowd laughed, Williams used his forefingers for wiggling antennas. "'Hey, Bob, how many get stoned and use a human clip? Come on, now.'
"Well, this has been fun. It's always a good place to know to come down the hill. I won't have to drive all the way to the city."
For Richardson, who started producing shows at Jeremiah's October 23, 1982, it was a dream come true. "I have wanted all the headliners to regard the club as a 'comedian's retreat' where they can try out new material and experiment with different ways to play off the audience. Hopefully, Robin has signaled the way -- that it's okay to do crazy stuff here. His appearance at the club is like giving the ultimate comedian's blessing to this stage, and what we hope it will mean to stand-up comedy."
# # #
Update: so far, Williams remains the only major comic
to do surprise drop-in performances at Jeremiah's. We never know when
he's going to show up. But, since so many of you have asked, here's
the history of his appearances: