Richard Dawkins Remembers Robin Williams’ Poetic Comic Genius
I met him only once. It was June 3, 2006, at the Academy of Achievement dinner in Los Angeles. After dinner, at the end of the conference, there was a loud band and dancing (Archbishop Desmond Tutu delightfully prominent among the dancers), and Sheryl Crow was the singer.
Suddenly Robin Williams hurtled unannounced, unrehearsed onto the stage. Sheryl Crow graciously (and with good-natured surprise) gave up the microphone to him and stood by. He treated us to an exuberant impromptu performance, delivering verse reports on most, if not all, of the speeches we had been listening to during the conference. He deftly summarized each of the lectures in a rhyming couplet (sometimes in the special rap sense of rhyming). Then, after stepping back for a few seconds’ thought while the band played on, he would advance to the front of the stage with a new verse about the next lecture…
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