Brow Beat

Watch Robin Williams Do Improv in 1989

Back in August, shortly after Robin Williams died, Chris Gethard wrote about what it was like to do improv with him. “Robin Williams may not care about any of the rules, but he absolutely cares about the people,” Gethard wrote. “He cares about the people onstage with him having a good experience, and you can sense that pouring out of him alongside his sweat. He cares about making sure we all could look him in the eye and know we are in it together, and he cares about making every single person in that basement theater have a good time.”


This 1989 clip, from the Santa Monica outpost of Second City—which closed not long after this—bears out Gethard’s description. It’s the latest installment in the Second City Archives series from Splitsider. The audio quality is not great, and the set-up of the sketch is not the world’s best premise for comedy: Chris Barnes asks the audience for a phrase, gets “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” and then must do a scene with Williams until the latter figures out what the phrase is. Even so, Williams is all the way in it from the beginning, and the crowd just delights in it. Keep an eye out, by the way, for Richard Kind and Mike Hagerty as well.

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