Robin Williams Taught Me to Fail
There is a moment towards the end of Robin Williams’s classic album “Reality, What a Concept” where one of his routines fails. It bombs. Its crickets and tumbleweeds in the darkness where the crowds just chuckled seconds before.
What happens next is one of comedies greatest moments. As Robin embraces the moment and recognizes it he say’s to the audience, “come inside my mind” as he takes them into the inner workings of a comedian who just failed. What we find there is 2:27 of the most honest comedy ever recorded.
What’s more important is this moment taught me, taught us, that it is OK to fail. We will do so and we will be lost, afraid, dazed and confused but we can take that failure and turn it around and make it succeed! That we if we have the power to just laugh at our failure, own it and make it ours BUT also invite others in to be a part of the experience, then there has been no true failure.
Robin in this moment showed me how to fail with grace. He showed me that the cards may not fall exactly where we want them to; it’s in how fast we pick them up and re-deal them.
My wife has often said to me that I hide behind my humor. That I use it to mask my pain and use it to deal with reality. Darn tootin’ I do! “reality, what a concept!” It has also taught me to laugh at the absurdity of the world and bounce back from otherwise traumatic moments. It’s my shield, my guardian angel and my second skin. It allowed me to fail and bounce back from it with poise.
Thank you Robin Williams for teaching me to fail.
Thank you Robin for never failing to make us laugh.
Go to 36:40 on this to hear the routine but do yourself a favor and listen to the whole album when you have time. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StPjkm1bbbY