When my colleagues and I tell people we are Clown Doctors people usually say, “Oh like Robin Williams in that movie? What was the name of that film?” Patch Adams, and he’s a real doctor and a funny person. Thank you Robin Williams for bringing the idea of taking humour therapy into hospitals into the mainstream.
I first fell in love with Robin Williams when he starred in Mork and Mindy. Then I saw him live at the State Theatre in Sydney in the late 80s and I couldn’t believe his talent. To be in the room with this rapid fire stand up comedy genius was incredible. Then he starred in movies.
They’re not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of hormones, just like you. Invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they’re destined for great things, just like many of you, their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because, you see gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? – – Carpe – – hear it? – – Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.
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. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?
Robin Williams as John Keating in Dead Poet’s Society.
Thank you Robin Williams for sharing your gift with us, for your wonderful films and all the laughter and tears you gave us. I hope you realised how much you were loved. I’m sad that your demons became too much for you to bear. In these dark days, the world needs laughter more than ever. Nanu Nanu