As the comedy world grieves the loss of Academy Award-winning actor Robin Williams, “No, You Shut Up!” host Paul F. Tompkins and Yannis Pappas of Fusion Live remember the late comedian as an inspiration while also touching on the “dark side” of the business.
“There’s a whole dark side to this comedy thing. Unfortunately the public finds out about it when something like this happens,” Pappas said. “But we know all too well because we do comedy: Loneliness on the road, the addiction to the laughs, and then those down moments when you’re not on stage.”
Tompkins, who started out as a comedian at age 17, said he got into it because making someone laugh “was very validating. But you learn very quickly that there’s a lot of damaged people in this business. It’s a very emotional way to make a living.”
Williams was found dead in his San Francisco Bay area home on Monday after what police suspect was a suicide by asphyxiation. The actor known for his characters such as “Mrs. Doubtfire” and the voice of the cartoon genie in “Aladdin” had been battling severe depression, according to his publicist.
For Tompkins, the loss of a great comedian shed light on an important message: Those suffering from depression are not alone.
“There’s the cliche of ‘the sad clown.’ No one wants to be that, but you have to remember you’re a human being first.”
Pappas added: “Legends never die, so future generations will find him.”