With his characteristic energy and borderline manic exuberance, Robin Williams brought out his comedic talents to the forefront of his recent show “An Evening of Sit Down with Robin Williams.” Helped by an intimate and plain stage set-up consisting of two sofa chairs facing the audience, Williams spoke to the audience rather than at them.
Of course, with the amount of time Williams spent standing up and moving around, the chairs might be called redundant. But Williams didn’t need to sit down to bring the audience close. Slightly different than a regular comedy show, “An evening of sit down” is a slightly more personal look at Williams’ life and body of work. He took the time to turn to the audience and include them in his stories whenever possible. Although it easily could have been overpowering, his energy seemed to spread through the crowd and make for an entertaining show.
True to the atmosphere, Williams spoke often of his childhood and his career in show business. It seemed like very little was off-limits to Williams, with stories ranging from old drug addiction to one particularly hilarious anecdote about going to a sex shop dressed as Mrs. Doubtfire. The wide gamut of stories was definitely entertaining. More importantly, it kept the whole show fresh and interesting.
David Steinberg, Williams’ special guest, was there as well.
It’s hard to imagine the type of person that could compete with the manic energy of Robin Williams. And if you could, it wouldn’t be someone like Steinberg. While he did take the time to share his own stories of his life and career, Steinberg took a more laid back approach to the entire thing. Instead of trying to match Williams’ energy, he served as a counterweight to it.
Steinberg’s steady voice and calm demeanor served as a surprisingly refreshing rest from Williams’ energy. With the amount of movement the latter does, it can be an exercise in itself to listen to his stories. But with Steinberg there to guide Williams’ energy and to dissipate it, if only for a moment, things are a little more even. If anything, the most disappointing part of Steinberg’s performance, for lack of a better word, is that there isn’t more of it.
Williams and Steinberg are both comedic powerhouses in their own right, but it’s clear that Steinberg comes from an older time. All of the stories that Steinberg shared had to do with legendary figures in the world of entertainment like Groucho Marx and Johnny Carson. In their own way, the quiet and star-studded tales were easily more astonishing than Williams’. Steinberg fulfilled the role of special guest perhaps a bit too well, to the point that it leaves you wanting more.
If you’re a Robin Williams fan, a David Steinberg fan or just a fan of comedy, this show manages to bring all the laughs you’d expect, along with moments you wouldn’t.