The comedy world suffered two great losses as of late. But in the wake of Joan Rivers’ death, an interview has resurfaced in which she praises the genius of Robin Williams.
Rivers died Thursday, Sept. 4, at the age of 81 following complications from a procedure on her vocal cords. After Rivers’ daughter, Melissa, announced the tragic news, outlets around the world reminisced about the mark she left behind.
Playboy unearthed a 1986 interview with Rivers, during which she discussed her iconic role on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,” her penchant for plastic surgery and the institution of marriage. However, a quote about Williams stands out from all the rest.
Playboy: Jack Gould, former television critic of The New York Times, called you “quite possibly the most intuitively funny woman alive.” So whom does America’s most intuitively funny woman find funny?
Rivers: I change; but at the moment, my favorite is Robin Williams. There’s nobody like him. His mind is just wonderful. I respect him because he does what I do. I’ve seen him get up at The Comedy Store, work out a whole Carson shot and then come on Carson and make it look like it’s easy. He takes nothing for granted. He knows exactly what he’s doing. Robin Williams is one of those people I’ll wait in the rain to see. Richard Pryor is another, and I’ll also wait for Bill Murray. And Lily [Tomlin], of course. I also adore Eddie Murphy, mainly because he has respect for his elders; he knows I’m going to die. One day we pull into a parking lot and another car screeches to a halt. Eddie, one of the major kings of comedy, jumps out, runs over, picks me up, spins me around, says, “Come over and meet my girl,” takes me to the car, introduces me to the girl — and this kid has just made Beverly Hills Cop and has 72 retainers.
After Williams’ death in August, the E! “Fashion Police” host and red carpet veteran remembered the funnyman in a touching tribute.
“Robin was one of the great interviews,” Rivers wrote for Time. “You’d see him coming down that red carpet and you knew, okay, now we’re gonna have fun. We’re not gonna hear the usual, ‘Yes, we all love each other on the set’ … It’s like you open the capsule and everything came out, all the air came rushing out. You popped the champagne cork when you said hello to him.”