Robin Williams Said ‘Mork & Mindy’ Took Material from His Stand Up Act

by Madison Miller
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For audiences that adoringly turned on “Mork & Mindy” to watch Robin Williams and Pam Dawber, you always got a good laugh out of the classic TV show.

That’s for a good reason or two, as it turns out. You’re working with some outstanding character actors that really know how to sell comedy on the screen.

‘Mork & Mindy’ Used Content from Robin Williams’ Stand-Up Act

Beyond that, the writers from “Mork & Mindy” also used some content from Robin Williams’ outstanding stand-up comedy appearances.

“Cut to the first year. They’re basically just taking things from my stand-up act and putting it in as basically me learning about humans. At the end having the thing of talking to Orson every week. They just took my stand-up and plugged it into the series. So it was just me playing having a good time and having Pam standing there and kind of holding the middle and explaining things and being patient,” Williams said during an interview with Pioneers of Television from years ago.

Robin Williams is obviously no stranger to comedy. Perhaps one of his most beloved was as the confused little alien from the planet Ork. The world was first exposed to Williams from an episode of “Happy Days.” He was an instant hit and his performance convinced producer Garry Marshall that he should be the center of his own sitcom.

The show was on for a total of four years and always seemed to be grateful for “Mork & Mindy” even as he grew into the film business instead of TV.

“You can’t say that something that took you from zero to a hundred was damaging to your progress. It certainly wasn’t a hindrance economically, either. And no matter what happened on the TV series, I always had the other image: the nightclub comedian. If I’d [just] done Mork and nothing else, it might’ve been dangerous. But I always had a total other outlet beyond that character. I thank God for cable TV [and stand-up specials]. Without it, I think it would be death for comedians,” Williams said during an interview with Rolling Stone from 1988.

Documentary Talks About Stand-Up Talent

The HBO documentary from 2018 called “Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind” explores what is so captivating about stand-up comedy as well as drugs.

The film features tidbits of his different comedy performances from over the years as well as some home videos and comments from his son Zak Williams and other famous friends.

For Robin Williams, comedy wasn’t for fun. It was a fully ingrained part of who he was and what he felt destined to do. “Standup is survival. … For me, that’s jazz. That’s what I have to do,” he said during the documentary.

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