Late Night Pays Tribute to Robin Williams

Slate's Culture Blog
Aug. 13 2014 11:57 AM

Late Night Pays Tribute to Robin Williams

For all the great tributes to Robin Williams the last couple of days, many of the best have come from his fellow comedians. The sad news of Williams’ death came too late for many of the late-night shows, which tape earlier in the day, on Monday, so many shared their memories last night.

Conan O’Brien kept the tone more light, telling the story of the time Williams tried to cheer him up by buying him a bicycle. It’s worth watching the full clip—O’Brien also shared a clips of Williams’ appearances, calling him “the best talk show guest in the world,” but we’ve also transcribed the story below.

Just as a quick example of what he was like, a bunch of years ago ... I went through, publicly, kind of a bump in the road and I was feeling a little low. Out of the blue, Robin Williams buys me a bicycle. It sounds like a silly thing. He was the first person to buy me a bicycle since my parents bought me a bicycle. When I was 35. But I was kind of low and Robin loved to ride, and I loved to ride, and he bought me a bicycle. But this is so Robin Williams: He bought me this bicycle and he had it delivered to my house and it was the most absurd bicycle you’ve ever seen ... It was bright orange and bright green and it had shamrocks on it. … I didn't know him well enough to justify this kind of [gift]. … So, I called him up and I just said, “Robin, I'm floored by this bike.” And all he would say is, “Well, I know you ride and I know you could use it.” And he went, “Does it look ridiculous? Does it really look ridiculous?” I said, “Yeah,” and he went, “Good. Do you really look stupid riding it?” And I said, “Yeah, I’m gonna look really stupid.” He’s like, “Well, then that’s good then.”
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Meanwhile, perhaps the most moving salute came from Jimmy Fallon, who—all while noticeably emotional—shared the clip of Williams’ incredible, anarchic first appearance on The Tonight Show, did his best impersonation of Williams’ manic style, and ended the segment with a gesture inspired by Dead Poets Society.

Williams will be missed.

Fallon_Williams_tribute

Still from YouTube

Forrest Wickman is a Slate staff writer. 

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