Local comedians remember Robin Williams through improv

Published: .
Updated: .
Many Hoosiers grew to love Robin Williams over the years, watching him in movies, TV shows and in person.

Williams performed live in Indiana at least twice in the past ten years at Purdue University and at the Murat.

Jarrod Reid and Kelsey VanVoorst saw Williams live during his 2008 performance at Purdue. Reid and VanVoorst now perform with local improv comedy group ComedySportz.

"It gives you a creative outlet where you can meet with friends and take care of each other," Reid said. "There's quick, short games that we play," VanVoorst said.

Reid was rehearsing for an upcoming show when he heard Robin Williams had taken his own life. The mood turned from improvisation to reflection.

They remember the comedic star's Purdue performance when Williams joked about politics and the economy.

"He had these water bottles on stage because he never stopped moving. And he'd just drink and he would be sweaty, just putting it all out there," Reid said.

"I could have sat in Elliot Hall of Music and listened to him tell stories for hours," VanVoorst said.

After that performance, Williams posed for a picture with university staff. Those kinds of connections are how he played with his audience.

VanVoorst says depression and deep sadness like Williams' happens often to those who make us laugh.

"Even some people that we know deal with depression issues. And so it's something that we know exists, and it's hard to understand sometimes," VanVoorst said.

Now Reid and VanVoorst turn to the laughter, the life they will never forget.

"Just that image of sweat, leaving everything up there," Reid said. "I feel like that's what Robin Williams was really good at, just looking dumb and making people laugh," VanVoorst said.