Politics & Policy

Oh, That Robin!

"Mork" weighs in on the war.

Irrepressibly

nutty beloved comedy genius Robin Williams has broken his 12-day silence

to speak out against the war in Iraq. The improvisational juggernaut (star

of the box-office smash Patch Adams) has delighted audiences for

what seems like 40 or 50 years now with his fast-paced, unscripted impressions

of southern preachers and flamboyant hairdressers. Using the same finely

honed comedic instincts exhibited in the box-office smash Bicentennial

Man, rapid Robin recently reeled off the following zany zingers. As

a service for those National Review Online readers who are not in show

business and don’t “get” the jokes, I will offer a helpful explanation

following each gag:

ROBIN ON

BUSH: “We

have a president for whom English is a second language. He’s like; ‘We

have to get rid of dictators,’ but he’s pretty much one himself.”

EXPLANATION

OF JOKE: Here, the high-octane laffmeister (star of the box-office

smash Jakob The Liar) exhibits the same gift for exceeding the

speed limit of Funnytown, U.S.A. (population: Robin!) that has amazed

and amused audiences worldwide — kind of like when he reels off an

impression of a southern televangelist and an effeminate choreographer

seemingly without taking a breath. The star of the box-office smash Jack

manages to sneak in two jokes here: first the observation that President

Bush has been known to make verbal gaffes, secondly that President Bush

is a “dictator.” On the surface, these might not seem to be

as funny as, say, an impression of a southern Christian fundamentalist,

or a squealing florist. But the key here is speed: Just when you’re still

absorbing the “second language” bit, the fast-track funnyman

(star of the box-office smash Father’s Day) doubles up the laughs

with the “dictator” bit.

ROBIN ON THE COST

OF WAR:

“America is broke basically, but Bush wants to wage a war that costs

pretty much a billion dollars a month.”

EXPLANATION

OF JOKE: Here the supersonic king of kookiness (star of the

box-office smash Deconstructing Harry) is employing the comedic

device of irony. He first lays the groundwork for mining comedy gold by

observing that America is “broke” (probably from spending all

that money buying tickets to make One Hour Photo a box-office smash!).

Then, just as you’re grinning giddily with anticipation (“America

— broke? Hey, come to think of it, Robin’s right! But, where’s he

going with this? Some place funny, I’ll bet!”) — BANGO, ZOOMO

— the wily Williams (TV’s Mork of Mork and Mindy) moves in

for the kill. Despite the fact that America is “broke,” the

war will cost “a billion dollars a month.” Which actually comes

as a relief since I thought it was going to cost a lot more. I mean, a

billion bucks a month doesn’t sound too bad. So it’s laughter mixed with

relief. Thanks, Robin!

ROBIN

ON HOMELAND DEFENSE: “Orange alert — What the hell

does that mean? We’re supposed to be afraid of Krishna? Of orange sorbet?”

EXPLANATION

OF JOKE: Some things are orange.

Thanks to atomic

ad-libber Robin Williams (star of the box-office smash Flubber)

for reminding us that, in these troubled times, it’s important to look

at the funny side of life. Or, if you can’t do that, just say unfunny

things really, really fast in the voice of a southern politician or a

sensitive, high-pitched interior decorator.

Comedian Dave Konig starred on

Broadway in Grease! and won a New York Emmy as the co-host of Subway

Q&A.

He just completed his first novel Good

Luck Mr. Gorsky.

Konig is an NRO contributor.

Members of the National Review editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

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