Kindle Notes

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“How to Remove a Rhinoceros from Your Bed” as well as the parody of Ed Sullivan and Topo Gigio. “When Robin came,” Gale said, “it brought about a holistic change—this became actual entertainment.”

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But when he, Crystal, and Goldberg appeared together at a shelter in Washington and then later at a press conference with Senator Ted Kennedy, there was a sense of a budding camaraderie among the three comedians, a playfulness that in time would grow into total, anarchic freedom—an unpredictability that could be thrilling and even dangerous. On their trip to Washington, the hosts were warned not to make any wisecracks to Kennedy on one particular topic: Chappaquiddick. As Goldberg recalled, “We’re on the plane and they say to us, ‘Look, no jokes, you three. No jokes about cars. No jokes about driving off—nothing.’ We all go, ‘OK.’ We’re not going to mention anything. And we got off the plane, and we weren’t going to mention anything.” Upon arriving at his office, they were told by Kennedy: “Okay, I’m going to drive you to the next building.” The three hosts could only gasp quietly and shake their heads at each other.

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“It was very liberating for the rest of the shoot,” Hansen said. “As long as I was behaving truthfully, working off something that existed in the moment between us, there was a little leeway there to catch fire. And that was Robin—Robin going, ‘Let’s play. Bring me what you have.’ He wanted everything, and he could handle anything. The guy was a lion. He lay down with all these young actors and just let you play all over him.”

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As they search for meaning in the world, LaGravenese explained, “Men in our society do that through high-paying jobs or women or cars or power. What they don’t do is go inward, to the archetype of the fool—the part of ourselves that will leap into the unknown, that will take the journey, that will lead to the grail.” With men, especially, LaGravenese said, “We lose that innocent part of ourselves, that just takes risks and leaps forward with faith that we’ll find our way, as opposed to being sick with experience—being paralyzed by knowing too much how things work.”

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Robin was no longer leaving his hotel room at night, and in April he suffered a panic attack. Minns thought that maybe if he slipped out to a local Vancouver comedy club and performed again, it would lift Robin’s spirits and remind him that audiences still loved him. But instead, her gentle suggestion had a devastating effect. “I said, ‘Robin, why don’t you go and do stand-up?’” she recalled. Robin broke down in tears. “He just cried and said, ‘I can’t, Cheri.’ I said, ‘What do you mean, you can’t?’ He said, ‘I don’t know how anymore. I don’t know how to be funny.’ And it was just gut wrenching to hear him admit that, rather than lie to me and say something else. I think that’s how troubled he was about all of it.”