Billy Crystal at the premiere of Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind (Jeff Kravitz FilmMagic for HBO)
Billy Crystal at the premiere of Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind (Jeff Kravitz FilmMagic for HBO)


Come Inside My Mind Premiere Was a Somber Celebration of Robin Williams’ Comedic Genius

By Olivia Armstrong

Billy Crystal, Bob Saget and Kevin Nealon remembered their friend and inspiration at the documentary’s L.A. event.


“Robin Williams was my closest friend,” Billy Crystal recalled with a sad smile, “and I will cherish the time I got to spend with him for the rest of my life.” At the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles (where Williams’ handprints are cemented outside), Crystal was among the comedy greats who came out to pay to tribute to the late icon.

Through interviews and archival footage, the documentary Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind spotlights Williams’ familial roots in Chicago, his rise to comedic fame, his foray into films and his commitment to philanthropy. The account, directed by Marina Zenovich (Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired), features intimate interviews with Williams’ family, friends and fellow comedians who were devastated by his suicide in August 2014. “I knew people loved Robin Williams, but it wasn’t until the trailer came out that I realized how truly adored he was,” said director Zenovich. “If this movie can help anyone who’s suffering… It’s not what we set out to do, but that would be fantastic.”

Still grieving, Williams’ friends are looking forward to letting them film work out their emotions. “Robin and I were attracted to each other — not only because of our good looks — but because we were both quick on stage,” Bob Saget remembered with a laugh. “We’ve suffered so badly from his loss,” he said, “And this [documentary] will offer some closure as well as a tribute to his genius.”

Though Williams’ impact on comedy and improv was a major discussion point during the bittersweet evening, his contemporaries also recalled his “generosity” as an actor. “Robin taught me that comedians could be real actors, too,” said Kevin Nealon, whose post-Saturday Night Live career extended into feature comedies.

Zenovich agreed: “Robin was an actor’s actor. If you attend Juilliard, you’re bound to have some serious chops.” A four-time Oscar nominee, Williams earned an Academy Award in 1997 for his supporting work in Good Will Hunting.

“Robin’s work is defined in so many ways,” Crystal said before heading into the film’s screening. “But all that pales in comparison to the friend he was.” Crystal, who appears in the documentary, is eager for audiences to discover Williams’ other facets. “This documentary gives you a glimpse into who he was at home, as a father,” he said. “These intimate moments of quiet I’m glad we’re able to share.”

Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind premieres July 16 at 8 pm.

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