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“You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.”

“Reality is just a crutch for people who can’t cope with drugs.”

“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion.And medicine, law, business, engineering – these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love – these are what we stay alive for.”

“Do you think God gets stoned? I think so . . . look at the platypus.”

“Comedy is acting out optimism.”

“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.”

“But only in their dreams can men be truly free It was always thus and always thus will be.”


Robin Williams also did an Ask me Anything (AMA) session on Reddit, and even through text-only answers, the prolific funny man’s personality and depth came through. A few of his responses are below, with perhaps his most private answer about his beliefs on life and death coming from a question about his movie “What Dreams May Come”. Perhaps one of Williams’ most under-rated movies, Robin Williams’ character Chris dies and experiences the beauty and pain of the afterlife and what it all means.

On filming What Dreams May Come, one of Robins’ most spiritual movies on death and afterlife:  [I learned] that the gifts of your relationships with others, don’t miss it. That was one of the hardest movies I think I ever did in my whole career. Every day was literally hell, because of the nature of the subject matter, dealing with death and being in hell literally. When I watched the final movie, I felt it was extraordinarily beautiful but I felt disappointed by the ending. There was a different ending that they shot that I felt was much more true to the story. It was about reincarnation, basically, that they were going to meet again. The movie ended with two babies being born simultaneously, one in Bombay and one in the United States, and they held them up, and then the screen went to black. I don’t know if it’s anywhere.

On who’s his favorite celebrity to impersonate:   “Oh my god, Jack Nicholson. He once was with me at a benefit and leaned over and said ‘even oysters have enemies.’ In a very intense voice. I responded with ‘Increase your dosage.’   Dana Carvey does my personal favorite impression of myself. It’s accurate. And kind.”   When asked whether he was scared being around Nicholson, Williams wrote, “It’s more fascinated than scared. He says things that even Buddha goes ‘…what did that mean?'”

On what gives him a sense of wonder, and his favorite childhood book:   “My children give me a great sense of wonder. Just to see them develop into these extraordinary human beings. And a favorite book as a child? Growing up, it was The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – I would read the whole C.S. Lewis series out loud to my kids. I was once reading to Zelda, and she said “don’t do any voices. Just read it as yourself.” So I did, I just read it straight, and she said ‘that’s better.'”

On what kind of music he listens to:   “To be honest, I’m kind of challenged in terms of new music. I listen to a lot of Jazz, specifically Keith Jarrett piano solos. And for me, if you want just wonderful ballads and love songs, Tom Waits. I might also have to throw in Radiohead, but I can’t quote specific lyrics. AND PRINCE! For those special nights.”

On playing video games: “No! I haven’t [played GTA V]. I’m still waiting for the next Call of Duty. It’s been very unusual for me because I’ve done trips overseas to Iraq and Afghanistan, and I would see guys who had just come back from patrol playing Call of Duty, and I would say ‘you’re living this stuff! And yet you’re still playing this game…’ I don’t usually play online, because getting my ass kicked by an 11 year old is very humbling!”