Comic Belief: Robin Williams Hits Town Hall Tonight

by BILLY GRAY · November 23, 2009

Robin Williams, man of 1,000 impersonations, is tough to pin down. So take advantage of his performance tonight at The Town Hall to see the comedian and actor (and the spring's worth of bottle water he gulps onstage) in the hairy flesh and confirm that, like Sybil on steroids, all those personalities come from one place.

Williams might have solid roots as an edgy, manic standup. But his movie work has strenuously avoided classification. There are the earnest dramas good (Dead Poets Society, Awakenings, Good Will Hunting) and bad (What Dreams May Come). The schmaltzy family entertainments harmless (Aladdin, Mrs. Doubtfire) and unforgivable (Flubber, the forthcoming Old Dogs). The prestige dramedies (Good Morning, Vietnam, The Fisher King), the maudlin crimes against cinema (Patch Adams, Jakob The Liar), the self-serious indies (Insomniac, One Hour Photo) and the pitch black comedies (Death to Smoochy) that rarely make a buck.

It's a dizzyingly eclectic resume. And we're happy to hear that Williams, who has struggled with addictions to cocaine and booze, is now sober and better able to make sense of it than we are. (And also to avoid another Jack.) See him riff on his spotty resume and troubled past among other, lighter subjects before the standup special hits HBO on December 6th.