CNN Larry King Live: Interview with Robin Williams (2007)

During a 2007 interview with CNN's Larry King, Robin Williams talks about comedic influences and opens up on his alcohol addiction and going through rehab.


Interview With Robin Williams

Aired July 3, 2007

ROBIN WILLIAMS: OK, Larry, we’ve got — we’ve got a shot of you with Colin Powell. It’s a nice shot. OK. Do we have any shots of Larry’s colon?


WILLIAMS: Anything?

KING: Tonight, a primetime exclusive with Robin Williams.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WILLIAMS: Good morning, Vietnam!


WILLIAMS: Because she was a stunner. Oy. But you’re still going to help me, Jack. Coveting thy neighbor’s wife. That’s why god invented the cold shower. Show me company!


KING: His remarkable career, the close friendship with the late Chris Reeve, his return to rehab after 20 years of sobriety. We’ll cover it all with the one and only Robin Williams. And then another exclusive with another Robin — Robin Quivers. How has she lasted 26 years as Howard Stern’s on air sidekick — longer than any woman in Howard’s life, except maybe his mother? And how she dropped 21 pounds in 21 days. Robin Williams, Robin Quivers, an exclusive hour next on LARRY KING LIVE.

WILLIAMS: And we have to do the show.

KING: Correct.

WILLIAMS: OK. Right. Get me a big wide shot and tell him we’ll be right there. Live with Larry King. We’ll be right back.

KING: Robin Williams is next. Don’t go away. Oh, what a treat tonight — Robin Williams. He has not been with us since May of 1997. That’s 10 years the man hasn’t been here, which is a shock.

WILLIAMS: Just one of Larry’s wives. Just one.

KING: It’s a —

WILLIAMS: Oops. Sorry.

KING: A great. You’ll never be back.


KING: It’s great to have you. Robin Williams, who is starring in the new movie License To Kill. A lot of license to kill.

WILLIAMS: Thank you.

KING: License To Wed.

WILLIAMS: All of a sudden it became a James Bond movie.

KING: Yes, right a — right away. Not much of a difference.

WILLIAMS: No, you’re right there.

KING: Anyway —

WILLIAMS: Brace yourself.

KING: License To Wed. It’s a very funny movie. You’ll enjoy seeing it. You’ll probably see my quote in the ads. Robin, what did you think of Paris Hilton? She — this is —

WILLIAMS: I’m so happy to see you back from Paris. I love the fact, the liberacion du Paris.

KING: We didn’t do it in Paris.

WILLIAMS: Oh. Oh. Oh, you were — oh, you were with — with her —

KING: Yes.

WILLIAMS: Not in Paris. Oh, great. A different show. But I saw this thing. She — it’s nice. You — she finished sentences, which is lovely.


WILLIAMS: It was kind of nice to see her get out going this is so much fun.

KING: What do you make of all these girls gone wild, the Britney Spears, all this —

WILLIAMS: I think Britney — you’ve just got to keep her away from a razor for a while.


WILLIAMS: If you’re going bazillion, you don’t go commando and you — and you don’t get out of a limousine like you’re sliding into third, you know? So the next thing you know, everything is in a witness protection program. People come out of that going what are you doing? You mean, Lindsay, initially, when she was going to get out, she was going to have a birthday party sponsored by a vodka company. It’s not wise in rehab, you know? It’s like taking the child just out, you know, the little hypoglycemic child to Krispy Kreme. You know, it’s — it takes some time, a little quiet time. And I think that will be good for her — and for all of them. You know, the rehab is just the beginning, having been through it, you know?

KING: You went through it?

WILLIAMS: Went through it, yes.

KING: For what were you addicted?

WILLIAMS: I wasn’t — oh, I had a little problem with alcohol. It wasn’t really a problem. Everybody had it. But it was the idea of —

KING: You were —

WILLIAMS: Yes, I was an alcoholic, a drunk.

KING: You were a drunk?

WILLIAMS: Well, that’s nice of you to say that.

KING: You said it first.

WILLIAMS: Yes. You know, you wake up in a field with a road flare nicely placed. What’s your name?


WILLIAMS: Oh, shhhh. It’s going to be fun.

KING: What happens in rehab?

WILLIAMS: What happens? You dry out.

KING: You know what I mean, what —

WILLIAMS: What happens is people basically start the process of, you know, just saying no and being among others, you know and learning that you’re not alone and working on giving up, you know, giving up — that you could do it yourself, because everyone is saying yes, I — I’ve got this under control, Gary.

KING: How do you, though, keep —

WILLIAMS: You keep going because there’s this strange secret organization that you go to.

KING: Yes, Alcoholics Anonymous.

WILLIAMS: Yes. Don’t say it. Shhhh. It’s unanimous. And you go to those and, you know, you find other people who have done things that made you look Amish.


WILLIAMS: And you come out the other side like, you know, I almost have a year now without that. So it’s good.

KING: Do you lose your sense of humor in it?

WILLIAMS: No, you find it. You’re with people who have a great sense of humor.

KING: So you’re funny there, too?

WILLIAMS: Oh, yes. You’ve got to be. One guy who — his name shall remain nameless, hence the name — the idea that he tried to commit suicide and he put a little tube in his car to pump the gas, you know, pump the fumes in, but only had a quarter tank of gas. So, you know, it’s a bit of a kind of a gallows humor. But, you know, like all those people — they all — they’ll tell stories about, you know —

KING: But when you’re a celebrity and you don’t lose your celebrity-dom.


KING: So you’re well known in there. Do they expect —

WILLIAMS: Yes, somewhat.

KING: I mean do you continue to be funny? You’re funny — continuously funny.

WILLIAMS: Yes, sometimes. I mean you can be funny with it. You know, the idea of — I wasn’t in with Mel. They thought, you know, for me, it was kind of ironic that Mel got busted by the only Jewish highway patrolman.


WILLIAMS: You have to think god’s I saw “The Passion,” let’s see what happens. Good luck.


WILLIAMS: Bolake mala zemen (ph). But, yes, it was funny there. But the truth is the more you do it, the more you lose — you don’t have to be funny. The best stuff is just the simple honesty, you know? That works. It’s a program of honesty.

KING: Now, do you think you’ve beaten it?

WILLIAMS: No, Larry, it’s always there.


WILLIAMS: Beaten it? Yes, I kicked it. I’m fine. No, the idea is that you always have a little bit of fear, like you just have to keep at it. You know, it’s a day by day. That’s what Britney will find out, Lindsay, Paris. I sing a song, “I love Paris out of rehab, I love Paris out of jail, I love Paris, crazy Bentley driving Paris.


WILLIAMS: It’s crazy. It must be all guys who were in Paris, the original, the city, going, “I was there at the liberation.” No, that’s different, grandpa. But, yes, you’ve got to stay on it, Larry.

KING: Let’s talk a little bit about the movie License To Wed.

WILLIAMS: Sure. Let’s —

KING: We’ll be showing clips.

WILLIAMS: Yes, well show you —

KING: Ultimately, what’s your selection process?

WILLIAMS: For movies?

KING: Yes. How by —

WILLIAMS: You go by weight. If the script has a nice weight, a nice piece of fish and a nice script. If it makes you laugh and it’s a comedy, that’s a good sign.

KING: That’s good?

WILLIAMS: If you read a script and go that’s funny, that’s helpful.

KING: I’ve talked to my friend Al Pacino about you.

WILLIAMS: Al? Al is very good —

KING: He was —

WILLIAMS: They won’t let me hold the babies, what’s wrong? You know, basically if you put Robert de Niro in a dryer, you get Al Pacino.


WILLIAMS: Well, you’re good, you’re good. Well, yes, it’s like that.

KING: But, in Insomnia

WILLIAMS: Oh, yes.

KING: — you played a vicious villain.

WILLIAMS: Yes, you play that kind of, you know, the sociopath that —

KING: Yes.

WILLIAMS: — who wants to (INAUDIBLE).

KING: Do you like serious acting?

WILLIAMS: Very much. It’s great because you get to explore things like a sociopath. You get to explore behavior that you would have to do time for in some states. O.J. You know where you are, you know? Yes, you —

KING: Milton Berle told me once, to the good comedian, serious acting ain’t hard.

WILLIAMS: No, because you’ve already kind of — you have to concentrate more doing comedy and you’re also not afraid. You know, comics will go out and say those things that, you know —

KING: Take a risk.

WILLIAMS: Big time, you know? Bill Maher had a great quote and I don’t know if we’ll be able to use, but good luck. He said that people have asked me, have you ever heard Ann Coulter scream? And he said, “Of course, during an orgasm.” OK, we’ll put that one —

KING: I guess that’s allowed.

WILLIAMS: I think that’s allowed. You can say —

KING: Yes, why not (INAUDIBLE)?

WILLIAMS: You can say Coulter. But, yes —

KING: All right, so —

WILLIAMS: — I think as a comic you’re not afraid to try stuff.

KING: Why did you choose License To Wed?

WILLIAMS: Because it’s a comedy about marriage, basically taught from the perspective a of this Protestant reverend, who teaches like a stress test before people get married to really find out, you know — marriage it wonderful, but the idea of how are you going to deal with the problems?

KING: So he controls them.

WILLIAMS: Yes. He’s a — he’s a provocateur —


KING: And he’s got this little kid working with him —

WILLIAMS: Who is great.

KING: That’s — where did you find this kid?

WILLIAMS: Oh, he’s — he was in a movie called The Greatest Game Ever Played, and Josh is pretty amazing. He’s in like the grade school production of The Sopranos, you know? He’s, you know, “What are you doing, Tony?” “Shut up.” He’s a great kid and he’s really funny. He’s got chops that you go — you’re that old, you know.

KING: How do you get through working with you in a film, because your stream of conscious humor is going all the time?

WILLIAMS: You have fun. I mean, for me —

KING: If it’s two months, does it take four?

WILLIAMS: No, we don’t add extra time. I know when to shut it off.

KING: You do?

WILLIAMS: I do it through the crew a lot of times, you know, because making a movie, a lot of times, is like open heart surgery with a spoon. It takes a long time. Or circumcision with a water pick. Your call.


WILLIAMS: I think it’s the idea, it takes a long time and you just keep doing it. And for the crew, sometimes you’ll find stuff to talk about and you’ll — or you’ll talk about what’s going on in the news or like — and for us, it’s just a process of it keeps them laughing, it helps me warm up and —

KING: It does?

WILLIAMS: Yes. Oh, big time.

KING: And do you do the same when you’re doing a serious movie?

WILLIAMS: No. Yes, well, actually sometimes. You know, like with Al, you know. You talked about Pacino. When he was doing “Insomnia,” he would do this thing of — the first day I was on the set, he kind of warms up. You know, he does different things to warm up. For this movie he thought of his character as an old lion so he would be (ROARS)! And I came on the set and went (BLEATS LIKE A LAMB) . And he was like, “Who did that? Who the hell did that?” “It was me, Mr. Pacino. Nice to meet you.”


WILLIAMS: How are you, Mr. Pacino?

KING: By the way, was it something for you to work with him?

WILLIAMS: Big time. It’s great. I mean, if I work with Duvall, then I’ve got the whole entire Godfather glass collection.


WILLIAMS: Working with him is great because you know he’s — he’s so —

KING: He’s back with De Niro again. They’re doing a movie again in September.

WILLIAMS: Are you serious?

KING: Two cops.

WILLIAMS: Two cops? Big surprise. You know, in between takes, “Was that good?” “It was good. It was good.” “I felt good about it. Let’s try it again. Let’s try it again. It will be good. I’m going to do something. I’m going to do it — “


WILLIAMS: “Let’s see!” “OK. I want to put on — ” “I know, you put on a thong, I’m going to put on nipple clips. Let’s see what happens.”

KING: Up next, we’ll get serious with you.

WILLIAMS: We’ll be right back.

KING: We’ll get serious for a few moments. Robin Williams will talk about the loss of his close friends, Chris and Dana Reeve —


KING: — when he come back.


WILLIAMS: Correct me if I’m wrong — the first thing you like about her is her looks.


WILLIAMS: But you really think she’s a cute control freak.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Woah! I didn’t say that.

WILLIAMS: Well, but you used the word organized, which all guys know is code for OCD. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OCD is not

WILLIAMS: Oh — oh, my lord. Oh. Are you OK, big fella?


WILLIAMS: Oh, yes?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, no, I’m fine, totally fine.

WILLIAMS: I’m going to have to heal you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The power of Christ compels you.

WILLIAMS: Oh, no, we have got to pray, yes!


WILLIAMS: We have got to pray, yes.


WILLIAMS: We have got to pray to make it through the day, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was that M.C. Hammer?


WILLIAMS: Little Sadie Jones is going to tie the knot. What do you do besides Little Sadie?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Reverend Frank has known the family forever.

WILLIAMS: Before I certify you ready for marriage, you have to pass the marriage preparation course here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This isn’t mandatory, right?

WILLIAMS: Let’s just say we strongly advise it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In other words, you have no choice.


KING: We’re back with Robin Williams. His new film is License To Wed.

WILLIAMS: Not License To Kill. We’ll be right back.

KING: That’s right. OK. He we’ve discussed already Pacino. He said he’d like to work with Jack Nicholson, right?

WILLIAMS: Yes, because Jack, you know, is not afraid. He’d be going, Larry, I’m just going to grab a nipple and let’s see what happens.


WILLIAMS: I liked him in The Departed. He was going, “I’m not doing a Massachusetts or Boston accent. Matty, work your little ass off. I’ll be over here being me.”

KING: What a movie that was.

WILLIAMS: Oh, yes.


WILLIAMS: Ooh, powerful.

KING: All right, serious for a minute, Chris Reeve.


KING: How did you meet him?

WILLIAMS: We were both at a program at Juilliard called The Masters Program, which was like an accelerated two year program basically to get us into the acting company really quickly. He was obviously brought in as the handsome leading man and I was brought in as the furry character actor. We were both in there together, Hasman sitting in a room with us going, “Mr. Williams, Mr. Reeves, the theater needs you.” But he was basically there, you know, with me. And we were both in a class that kind of fell apart. And he got a job early on and the school didn’t acknowledge that. You couldn’t go off and work at that time and do a movie and then come back. So he left early and started — I think he was in a play and then also a movie.

KING: And you stayed friends?

WILLIAMS: Oh, big time. He’s the — he’s the godfather of my son Zach and I’ve known him for years, through everything. It was (INAUDIBLE) —

KING: And even when he met Dana?

WILLIAMS: Oh, yes. Oh, I mean through all of it. I’ve known him for a long time.

KING: And I saw you speak at his memorial service.

WILLIAMS: Yes, that was —

KING: It was a wonderful memorial service and his son was brilliant.

WILLIAMS: His son was amazing. I mean that — how powerful he was to do two memorials in one year at the age of 14.


WILLIAMS: it’s a stress test beyond all belief.

KING: Did you know Dana was that sick?

WILLIAMS: Yes. Yes. I mean it came — my wife was with her all the time and knew pretty early on, and was fighting it and it was so elegant. You know, that — she had that great line, you know, she came to the benefit. And she was in this Versace dress and she had — you know, her hair looked gorgeous. And she said, “It’s not my hair, thank you.” And it was kind of amazing to see that they all had this power, that she had the same power that Chris had in, you know, carrying on the tradition.

KING: Did you — truly, you supported him?

WILLIAMS: Supported him? Oh, you mean just — I mean I got him a generator at one point, because when the power kicked out it’s a little rough when you’re on a machine. Bobby, start the truck, you know? You’ve got to have a generator going. No, if they ever needed stuff, yes.

KING: Did you have any idea that he was — that something might — that he was sick or something?

WILLIAMS: No, I mean he was — you know, whenever you have a disorder of the spine —

KING: It could grow.

WILLIAMS: — the whole central nervous system is up for grabs. I mean, he would — you could overheat immediately. I mean, one time at dinner he did this, he said, “Hey, brother, check this out.” And he moved his finger. And I went, “OK, where’s the Muppet?” And it was huge because he learned voluntary (INAUDIBLE) —


WILLIAMS: Yes. He did that. And it’s —

KING: Yes.

WILLIAMS: — you realize, for him, that’s the equivalent of an 18-foot pole vault. And on voluntary breathing he was getting to. All the work he’s done is just now starting to pay off in terms of stem cell, in terms of all the — you know, the advocacy that he began is just now kicking in, especially like in the state: “Arnold, you know, you did it. I’m very proud of you. Now let Maria eat, OK?

KING: At least Arnold is in the forefront of it.

WILLIAMS: Oh, big time.

KING: California is spending more than the nation.

WILLIAMS: Yes, huge.

KING: But the nation ain’t spending.

WILLIAMS: Yes. And it’s — he was realizing. And I called him and I said, “Thank you for doing that.” He said, “Don’t be silly, Robin. It’s billions of dollars of business.”

KING: Did you have fun with Chris when he did Superman?

WILLIAMS: Yes, it was great to go visit him because he was all pumped up. And at that point it was like — we would walk down the street and it would be Mork and Superman and then eventually Popeye and Superman. It was like kind of a — but it was so strange to see him like in that thing, to see my friend, now is Superman.

KING: Yes.

WILLIAMS: And it became this huge deal.

KING: Tell me about you and Jonathan Winters.

WILLIAMS: Oh, the meister. The — my (INAUDIBLE). “My son,” he said, “Consider me more of an idol.” I went, “Great.”

KING: He’s a genius, right?

WILLIAMS: Oh, a true genius.

KING: What’s he doing now?

WILLIAMS: Just hanging out in Santa Barbara, doing shows. There was a — we did a benefit in L.A. For —

KING: I don’t see him on television.

WILLIAMS: No. He should be, though. They did a thing in San Francisco where they showed all these old clips. My favorite thing is the thing that I saw my father laughed when Jonathan Winters was just playing kind of, “I’m a great white hunter.” He said, “What do you hunt?” “I hunt mainly squirrels.”


WILLIAMS: He said, “What do you aim for, their nuts?”


WILLIAMS: He was always, you know, he’s done — when you’re with him, he can go off on all these things, because he’ll be — I’ll call him. He’ll go, “Where are you?” “I’m in a hot tub with Indian head nickels. I have to go now.” And he’s always just riffing on things.

KING: Did you put him on Mork & Mindy?


KING: As the one —

WILLIAMS: He had a great thing. A guy said, “How do you get into show business?” And Jonathan said, “It’s very easy. What you have to do is, you know, all the studios have a gate. What you have to do is get a Camaro with an iron grill and drive through. And then you’re in show business.”


WILLIAMS: Then he’s like, “All right.” But, yes, we put him on and it was great, because people who knew him loved him. And the rest of the people were going what is this?

KING: How did you get Mork?

WILLIAMS: I got it as kind of a fluke. Gary Marshall was inviting a lot of comics in to audition. And I just went in and said (INAUDIBLE) —

KING: Were you a stand up comic?

WILLIAMS: Yes, big time with — it was an open call and Richard Lewis going in. And he walked out saying, “I don’t speak Norwegian,” you know?


WILLIAMS: OK. So I just went in and went now let’s be crazy and see what happens.

KING: And you gave — that was your own concept, that voice?

WILLIAMS: Well, the voices, yes, like the kind of the helium, you know, the idea of someone who is just like this, who is slightly damaged. And that’s carried on until now.

KING: Did you think that show would click?

WILLIAMS: No, not at all. They gave it odds of — the same odds as Gary Coleman in the NBA. I think —


WILLIAMS: I think it’s the same odds basically, you know? And when it did, I think that the only reason it clicked was that the studio and the executives would come in and they would see people laughing. And then they went oh, well, maybe it will work. And we went on and because it was so free form, at that time, it was different than all the other situation comedies.

KING: You had lived a lot of that?

WILLIAMS: Oh, huge. Yes, you’d go off. And you had people who would, you know, go with it, three cameras. Good luck.


WILLIAMS: (INAUDIBLE) through anything, you know?

KING: Robin Williams is our guest. The new film, License To Wed. When we come back, we’ll talk a little politics, right after this.

WILLIAMS: Oh, welcome back.


WILLIAMS: We’re going to talk about the presidential race.


WILLIAMS: Dear “Elle” magazine, I just found out that my husband of three months is cheating on me with my best friend. Half of me wants to kill him, the other half wants to salvage my marriage. What to do?” Yikes. What kind of sins are we dealing with here guys? Sarah?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thou shalt not commit adultery.

WILLIAMS: Adultery. Going out for milk when you have perfectly good jugs at home. Show me adultery!




KING: We’re back with Robin Williams. He stars in License To Wed. It opens July 3rd, which is tonight, because that’s when this is playing.


KING: He was nominated — earned an Oscar for your fourth nomination. What’s it like winning when you win an Oscar? What’s that like, for Good Will Hunting?

WILLIAMS: Because I’d lost three times before, it was kind of a shock. I was always losing to people who didn’t have a green card, you know? And so — and the winner is an English actor who is not from here. And —

KING: You were nominated for Fisher King

WILLIAMS: Fisher King

KING: Dead Poet’s Society

WILLIAMS: And Good Morning, Vietnam.

KING: Good Morning, Vietnam. And won —

WILLIAMS: When I won, it’s strange, because they announce your name and everything goes into slow motion. You’re kind of (INAUDIBLE). You get up and you look around and you see Madonna standing, and you look over and see Burt Reynolds going, “You bastard.”


WILLIAMS: And it was like — and you look around and it’s a very surreal thing.

KING: I’ve done “Shrek” a couple of times. And I’m going to be a voice of —

WILLIAMS: Oh, isn’t it fun?

KING: I’m the bee movie in the bee movie for Jerry Seinfeld.

WILLIAMS: (LAUGHTER). That’s wonderful. Abe?

KING: Yes, it’s a lot of fun. I’m a bee.

WILLIAMS: Isn’t that a blast?

KING: But you were in Aladdin. You do voices, right?

WILLIAMS: Yes. I’ve done — I was Aladdin and I’ve done “Baricoda” (ph). I was three — well, initially, three penguins in “Happy Feet” and then two. For me it’s the most — it’s the most fun. You see that —

KING: Sure.

WILLIAMS: You just do it. And then when they draw you —

KING: Oh —

WILLIAMS: Did they draw a bee that looks like you?

KING: I haven’t seen the bee yet.

WILLIAMS: Go to line two back at the hive.


WILLIAMS: We’re talking to the queen. You know, it’s — it’s fun because then they draw you and it’s like wow, dude, it’s beautiful.

KING: Are you politically involved as we (INAUDIBLE) —

WILLIAMS: I am an observer, yes, sir.

KING: Supporting anyone yet?

WILLIAMS: Not yet. We’re just going to wait until the dust clears. Right now it’s like “Survivor” with videotape, so —

KING: Will it — (LAUGHTER). Will it be a Democrat?

WILLIAMS: Well, look at the South right now. If the major candidates are a black man and a white woman, and a lot of people in the South are going I’ll have a beer. They’re kind of like — I know Barack. I’ve done benefits for him. I know Hillary. I’ve done benefits for her. Right now, they’re kind of, you know, going at each other and there’s Al over here just kind of —

KING: Al will be here —

WILLIAMS: Serious?

KING: — the night after tomorrow.

WILLIAMS: It’s good. Just knock the hamburger out of his hand, you know? Because he’s getting a little big, you know? He’s almost got his own climate right now.


WILLIAMS: He is global warming. He walks into the room and the temperature rises. It’s like honey, put her down. You remember that? You remember Bill dropped some weight, you know?

KING: If he got in, would you go with Gore?

WILLIAMS: Yes, you could go with Gore.

KING: Yes?

WILLIAMS: I mean you just want —

KING: You would?

WILLIAMS: — right now who can finish a sentence. You want that — someone who has a reasonable scientific knowledge.

KING: Has President Bush been disappointing?

WILLIAMS: Just a touch.


WILLIAMS: Having been to Iraq, just a touch. Yes, you know, you —

KING: You’ve been to Iraq?

WILLIAMS: Yes. I’ve been to Iraq twice and Afghanistan three times. Yes, just a touch. Yes, you kind of —

KING: Entertaining troops?

WILLIAMS: Yes. No, no, just a comedy club. Welcome to Club (INAUDIBLE).

KING: Oh, you got booked in Baghdad?

WILLIAMS: Yes, booked in Baghdad. Here’s a funny guy!


WILLIAMS: It’s burka night. Come on down. Shiites hit the fan. Welcome. Before I bring out Larry King and the great slipper (ph) who is putting on clothes, please welcome — a comedy club in Baghdad. Sorry we had to move.


WILLIAMS: Well, this is a great thing.

KING: See, I set you up good with that.

WILLIAMS: (INAUDIBLE) 100 years from now there will be civil war re-enactors — I’m a Sunni. I’m a Shia. It’s like — yes, it’s been a disappointment for me. And, like, you talking to Colin Powell — there’s a man who actually had a certain sense of, you know, responsibility. The great quote, “If you break it, you own it?”

KING: Yes.

WILLIAMS: You know, and then they went bye-bye. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Take anything off the top shelf. Good luck and —

KING: What’s it like? Is it different to entertain troops?

WILLIAMS: Yes. They’re heavily armed. You know, you see — one time I was on a stage, and I think it was in Baghdad. And you look out — everybody is fully armed. But they’re also wearing full body armor. And I — I came out and said I guess I didn’t get that memo.


WILLIAMS: And I looked over. There were five Australians sitting in a fuel truck smoking, you know, on a big fuel truck smoking a cigarette going, “Don’t worry, Robin. Just be funny.”


WILLIAMS: And, you know — but the great news is it’s the greatest audience you’ll ever be in front of. It’s extraordinary people and —

KING: Because they are young and they’re —

WILLIAMS: Young and they’re, you know, and you’re just there and they have a great time. And they’re so happy that any — that someone even asked, like my assistant, for her autograph. They said — this was in Afghanistan. They said, “Anybody who comes here, man, thank you.” And I recommend going, because it’s great people and you just want to be there for them and say, dude and ma’am, you’re the best.

KING: And you’ll —

WILLIAMS: And especially my favorite was in Afghanistan, where you perform in front of the Special Forces guys —

KING: Oh, the —

WILLIAMS: Because they’ll be like —

KING: — the Rangers?

WILLIAMS: The Rangers and, you know —

KING: The Green Berets?

WILLIAMS: The Green Berets, the SAS, whether — even the SAS, they’re always like, “You can’t look at me, Robin. I’m sorry, you just can’t look at me.” And they’re all — they will be full beard, full jalaba except for the Yankees hat you wouldn’t know.


WILLIAMS: And it’s like — and they’re, for me, the best. You know, that’s — for me, it was an extraordinary memory and a great time.

KING: Have you always been politically involved?

WILLIAMS: I got — once I had a child. You know that, once you’ve got a kid, you realize you’ve got to try and at least pay attention.

KING: Are you a good father?

WILLIAMS: Ask my kids. I mean, right now my son Cody, it’s amazing, because he was asking, Dad, have you ever read Faubert?” And all of a sudden I went, “No.” You know, I said, “I must catch up now.”

KING: How old is he?

WILLIAMS: He’s 15. And it’s like — and he’s pushing the envelope. But he’s brilliant. And Zach is great. And Zelda. I mean they’ve always been there to kind of be my reality check. And Marcia, too. You know, the (INAUDIBLE)?

KING: Yes.

WILLIAMS: When you’ve got a good wife it’s like, thank you.

KING: How were they when you went into rehab?

WILLIAMS: They were good. I think they — they knew it was time. Daddy is sleeping.


WILLIAMS: No, no, don’t throw that — I don’t know how the vodka got here. It’s crazy, you know? What’s the Smirnoff doing on the couch? Someone left this here and someone urinated in my pants.


WILLIAMS: I don’t know how it happened. That’s the standard. You know, the alcoholic is the only person who can wake up in the morning and day, “Who did this to my pants?” This is crazy, total denial. So far in denial you’re in the swears.


By the way, in making License To Wed, do you have to like the company? Was it an enjoyable set to do?

WILLIAMS: Yes. For it — once again, if you’re in a comedy, it’s great to have fellow comedians.

KING: People you like?

WILLIAMS: Yes. People you like and people who are not afraid to improvise, like John Kasinski, who is funny. And you see him on the American Office and he’s really funny.

KING: Yes.

WILLIAMS: Mandy, who’s sweet and funny. I mean everyone talks about the wild girls of Hollywood, there’s Mandy who is doing, you know, has a singing career, has an acting career and, obviously, has, I think, a wonderful private life that we don’t know about. No videotape —


WILLIAMS: — at least that I’ve seen — looking for it. But, you know, it’s been wonderful to be with those people. And Josh and — when you’re doing a comedy, if you’re having a good time, it usually helps.

KING: We’ll be back with some more moments with Robin Williams. And then another Robin, Robin Quivers.


WILLIAMS: OK, Larry. We’re going to run a few initial clips before. This is your greatest hits if you’re ready for this.

KING: OK, I’m ready.

WILLIAMS: OK, thanks. OK, now we’ve got Mel Gibson and a rabbi.


WILLIAMS: Let’s see what happens. OK, now Larry in Paris. Do you have any shots of Larry in Paris? No, the city.


KING: Robin Williams, he stars in License to Wed opening tonight, wide as they say.

WILLIAMS: Oh, good.

KING: Did you have to do any homework to play a minister? Did you go visit churches?

WILLIAMS: No, they won’t let me in. Rehab was the closest thing. I think I grew up Episcopal. I was a choirboy and an altar boy and you know. But like I said Episcopalian is like Catholic life. We didn’t have confession. We just had, you know, your parents having a couple of gin and tonics at Thanksgiving. Your aunt is a lesbian, I’m sorry to tell you. And it’s like the idea of — you know I knew that from growing up.

KING: What did you feel like putting on the cloth?

WILLIAMS: Once you put it on, the cloth — the collar is the main thing. The cloth is nice. The collar, once you turn around, language, you know, must sort of confine the — you’re limited in terms of…

KING: Does it sort of exalt you?

WILLIAMS: No, I was never exalted.

KING: No? Doesn’t feel good?

WILLIAMS: In many ways.

KING: Well, I mean I would gather if I was a rabbi…

WILLIAMS: If you were a rabbi…

KING: …put me on the tolace.

WILLIAMS: Tolace. And I’d say today, it’s Lar Shadicki (ph) Demilkidicki (ph) in the sushidicki (ph). A rabbi in Malibu. Here we are. This is temple Beverly Hills, a blessing. What a wonderful thing it is. To Sheila who is hoping for an iPhone, God willing, in this life. Is there a blessing rabbi for an iPhone? May you have it? May the software function? May there be a blessing for all of this. May we take the cover off the iPhone today. Today you’re a man. And now, for a lovely (UNINTELLIGIBLE), Phil, who has done a wonderful job this year and a lovely cantor, a fabulous cantor. And before we come out with Barbara Streisand here singing (UNINTELLIGIBLE) singing “Dradel” in the only the way that she can. That’s a beautiful, beautiful thing. If you were a rabbi, that would be wonderful. I’ve got a call in from line one, from heaven, God willing.

KING: No, but I mean I would think…

WILLIAMS: When you put it on it’s kind of interesting. You can’t wear it out. You can’t wear it out because it’s impersonating a…

KING: Correct.

WILLIAMS: …man of the cloth and you’ll do time, like Lenny Bruce, but you know…

KING: And Lenny did that. I knew Lenny when he was doing that.

WILLIAMS: Seriously? When he was selling in Miami?

KING: Well, I knew Lenny very good and he was a good friend.

WILLIAMS: Well, especially when you’ve got a German pope, everything is up for grabs.

KING: Lenny was a genius. We have a German pope.

WILLIAMS: Yes, a German pope is always — you know it’s a little frightening if you’re Jewish, you know, a German in front of a large cross and people cheering, it’s a bit like — he was only in the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) — he just shot away in an (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

KING: What are you doing next?

WILLIAMS: Just going home.

KING: No, I mean…

WILLIAMS: Oh, OK. Going back — this movie with Travolta, which will be fun.

KING: Which?

WILLIAMS: It’s called Old Dogs, you know.

KING: What do you play?

WILLIAMS: I play myself as a middle aged guy with another middle aged guy basically dealing with…

KING: What’s the…

WILLIAMS: The premise of the comedy is all of a sudden him dealing — me, my character dealing with the fact that a woman comes to me and says these are your children and then we use them — I have to learn how to be with them and accept them as my children. And John, I think, will be using them as cougar bait. For those of you who know, the North American cougar, they hunt in packs.

KING: When do you start?

WILLIAMS: We start in July.

KING: Anyone you want to work with, Nicholson?

WILLIAMS: Nicholson, Scorsese, just — when Marty laughs, it’s big, you know. When you see him laughing, go for the asthma medicine. It’s good. I mean just because — also working with him, you realize he’s teaching a film history course. I’ve got some South Korean movies here I think you’ll enjoy them. This is Old Boy, and this is a beautiful musical shot in Sanscrit. I think you’ll love that.

KING: We’re almost done, Robin.

WILLIAMS: Well, thanks, Larry, this has been a blast.

KING: It’s a very enjoyable film.

WILLIAMS: Thank you.

KING: And I enjoy your work, not 10 years between…

WILLIAMS: No, I’ll be back. I like this. And then, you did well with Paris. I love what you said to her. You were very sweet with her and allowed her to be calm. And we’re going to send her some books now.

KING: All right, you’ve been fascinating with our map.

WILLIAMS: I’m looking over here. I just look around here to see…

KING: Are you going to do a weather thing or what?

WILLIAMS: No, we’re basically looking at what Rupert Murdoch owns. We started here, basically of those…

KING: That’s Australia, correct?

WILLIAMS: Yes, Australia. Most of China now is coming for — they have another king now.

KING: The Rupert Murdoch ownership.

WILLIAMS: The ownership now — these are — the small red dots are just people who he hasn’t bought yet, the things around here. This is a small thing right here, we’re moving over here. Two islands in Fiji that are up for grabs.

KING: He got it right, you know.

WILLIAMS: This is a very good thing.

KING: Good stuff.

WILLIAMS: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and the new pitcher for the Yankees is Wang. Remember, do not say Wang. He’ll be very upset. Thank you, Larry.

KING: Thanks, Robin.

WILLIAMS: You got it, boss.

KING: Robin Williams.

WILLIAMS: Larry King, we’ll be right back.

KING: License to Wed.

WILLIAMS: License to Wed not License to Kill, remember that.


WILLIAMS: One mistake.

KING: Just say Robin Quivers is next.

WILLIAMS: Robin Quivers is next. Yes!

KING: Coming up Thursday night, former Vice President Al Gore previewing his big Live Earth Concert. Eight shows on six continents. That’s Thursday on LARRY KING LIVE.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read More

Weekly Magazine

Get the best articles once a week directly to your inbox!