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Russell Brand: Is a World That Robin Williams Can’t Live In Broken?

Natasha Hakimi Zapata
Assistant Editor and Poetry Editor
Natasha Hakimi Zapata is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Latin American Literature at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain. She also holds a Creative Writing M.F.A. from Boston University and both a…
Natasha Hakimi Zapata

The comedian reflects on the death of one of the funniest men ever, tying it to “the overarching misery of our times,” in his latest episode of “The Trews.” And though the video is absolutely worth watching, parts of it echo a poignantly written and must-read column in The Guardian on Tuesday in which the “Trews” host discusses what he understands as the relationship among mental illness, addiction and genius. Brand also takes the opportunity to remind his readers that life is too fleeting to surround oneself with paranoia and hatred, and, in keeping with recent “Trews” themes, makes yet another jab at Fox News.

The Guardian:

Poor Robin Williams, briefly enduring that lonely moment of morbid certainty where it didn’t matter how funny he was or who loved him or how many lachrymose obituaries would be written…We sort of accept that the price for that free-flowing, fast-paced, inexplicable comic genius is a counterweight of solitary misery. That there is an invisible inner economy that demands a high price for breathtaking talent. For me genius is defined by that irrationality; how can he talk like that? Play like that? Kick a ball like that? A talent that was not sculpted and schooled, educated and polished but bursts through the portal, raw and vulgar. Always mischievous, always on the brink of going wrong, dangerous and fun, like drugs.

Robin Williams could have tapped anyone in the western world on the shoulder and told them he felt down and they would have told him not to worry, that he was great, that they loved him. He must have known that. He must have known his wife and kids loved him, that his mates all thought he was great, that millions of strangers the world over held him in their hearts, a hilarious stranger that we could rely on to anarchically interrupt, the all-encompassing sadness of the world. Today Robin Williams is part of the sad narrative that we used to turn to him to disrupt.

What platitudes then can we fling along with the listless, insufficient wreaths at the stillness that was once so animated and wired, the silence where the laughter was? That fame and accolades are no defence against mental illness and addiction? That we live in a world that has become so negligent of human values that our brightest lights are extinguishing themselves? That we must be more vigilant, more aware, more grateful, more mindful? That we can’t tarnish this tiny slice of awareness that we share on this sphere amidst the infinite blackness with conflict and hate?

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—Posted by Natasha Hakimi Zapata

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