WATCH: Robin Williams Was at His Comedic Best in This 1991 Johnny Carson Interview

by Charles Craighill

In 1991, Robin Williams joined Johnny Carson for an interview on ‘The Tonight Show” and absolutey tore apart the audience in studio and at home.

In the interview, he displayed his brain that moves 1,000 miles per hour but all with jokes that land extremely well. Although it was supposed to be an interview, it seemed as if Williams had practiced and planned each response. The comedic brilliance of Williams remains timeless and uproaring to this day.

In the first part of the interview, Robin Williams riffs on the Roe vs. Wade trials. While his jokes occasionally strayed into the slightly off-color, most of the time they were just plain funny.

He tastefully avoided divisive opinions while still approaching the subject matter in a thoughtful manner. For instance, at one point when talking about the jury, he makes the very quick comment “what do you think about Roe vs. Wade, well, I’d rather float!”

His humor typically revolves around moving seamlessly in and out of impersonations of the situations that he discusses. At any given moment, he could jump from one perspective to another and right back. One of the best parts of this humor is how fast and unpredictable it is.

His physical movements also mimic the fast-moving unpredictable nature of his comedy. He will stand up from the chair, sit back down, throw his hands behind his head, jerking his head sideways, stand up again.

The unpredictability of his movements mimics his frantic and sudden shifts in the narrative. His persona comes off as neurotic, exciting, and possibly even insane. When Robin Williams took the stage, you truly had no idea what will happen next.

Jonathan Winters Joins the Interview with Robin Williams

Later in the interview, Jonathan Winters joins Johnny Carson and Robin Williams to talk. He comes in dressed as a Civil War General and riffed off of that for a few minutes. When Winters joined the interview, Robin Williams adjusted his energy to fit better with Winters.

He backed off his domination of the conversation, which is his style, and shifted to a more secondary approach. To see Robin Williams as more of a reactionary comedian than a dominating one really shows his comedic range. Different parts of this interview showed all of the different sides to Williams’ ability as a comedian and an entertainer.