Emmys Tribute Unearths Touching Robin Williams Bit on Parenting
byKaitlin StanfordAug 26, 2014
Photograph by Getty Images
Last night, as Sara Bareilles crooned along to "Smile" during the Emmys annual "In Memoriam" tribute, we watched the faces of some of our favorite performers flash across the screen: James Garner; Lauren Bacall; Shirley Temple Black.
But when the song came to its end, there seemed for a second to be one glaring omission made: Where was Robin Williams?
Just a few seconds later, though, out walked Billy Crystal. As an image of Robin's face lit up the otherwise darkened ballroom, Crystal went on to give what was honestly one of the most touching tributes we've seen yet.
In his emotional monologue, Crystal remembered his dear friend for the kind-hearted, larger-than-life laughter machine that he was.
“As genius as he was on stage, he was the greatest friend you could ever imagine,” said Crystal, who seemed at times to be fighting back tears. “It is very hard to talk about him in the past tense because he was so present in all of our lives.”
Williams and Crystal first became friends decades ago, and famously founded the "Comic Relief" specials back in the 1980s with Whoopi Goldberg, to raise money for the homeless. They also teamed up for future movies like 1997's "Father's Day."
“I used to think if I could just put a saddle on him and last for eight seconds I would be OK,” said Crystal, of Williams' frenetic energy.
But one of the most moving parts of the tribute came at its end, when Crystal stood silent and clips from Williams' best-loved performances rolled on-screen. The last one, which played before fading to black, was a snippet from Williams' 1986 comedy special "Live at the Met," in which he riffs for a while on life with a 3-year-old.
At the time, Williams was talking about his toddler Zach, who is now 31. But back then, Williams' hilariously joked about everything from accidentally dropping F-bombs in front of your kid (only to have them repeat it in public later) to having to answer questions about life and why the sky is blue with practically every breath.
Sadly, the Emmys actually cut off the punchline to Williams' original bit, where he reenacts a funny and touching moment with Zach. (Though we understand — it did feature a pretty big F-bomb.) But you can catch it again in full, below. Just fast-forward to around 53:00 and watch to the end.