Robin Williams knew how to parody just about everyone. There was no target outside of his comedic grasp of impersonation and eloquent exaggeration. While George Bush, John McCain, and Sarah Palin might seem like easy targets, Robin Williams pokes fun at them in unique ways that will have you holding your sides due to laughter. In his 2008 post-presidential We Are Amused performance in England in celebration of the 60th birthday of Prince Charles Robin Williams reminds us why he was the best.
George W. Bush
While Williams starts off by expressing his optimism with Obama’s election, it does not take him long to reach his hilarious bit about George Bush. With George Bush out of the presidential office, America is, as Williams puts it, “officially out of rehab, the end of the age of error”. Williams appeals to the British audience by calling Bush, George II. Williams goes on to call Bush “a gift to comedy” or the self-declared, “decider.” Williams does some brilliant wordplay by saying that Bush is not the decider because that is “what they sell in the little jug.” Williams goes on to joke about the fact that George comes from a family where the smartest member is named Jeb. You get a sense that these are his genuinely held beliefs, and his ability to casually deliver his message to his audience adds a sense of personability. When he asks “what is Bush going to do once he gets out of office? He certainly cannot go on a speaking tour”, you feel like a friend of yours is making you crack up.
After performing a number of Bush impersonations, Robin Williams begins satirizing John McCain in a riotous impersonation. While Williams says that Obama is like the “new kid on the block.” McCain is uncle Fester from the Adams family. Williams proclaims that McCain is like your confused uncle who is adjusting to a new medication, wandering around a department store yelling about an unexplainable plan of action. While it is easy to perform McCain old-age jokes, Robin Williams’ bit will undoubtedly lead you into a fit of comic laughter.
Like all of Robin Williams’ impressions, his Sarah Palin one is spot on. Williams introduces her with the wise crack “Where did they find Palin. Did Ronald Reagan have a kid with posh spice? It looks like she came from project running mate.” In this section Williams receives an overwhelmingly positive response from the British audience whom you can tell is not receptive to Palin’s persona. During his impression, Robin Williams says that Palin can “Skin a moose and balance a budget,” and that “Polar bears are not endangered, they are unlucky.” In a short few minutes, the audience that had gathered for the We Are Amused event is humorously reminded of the most ridiculous aspects of these politicians.
Robin Williams may have recently passed, but his ability to make people laugh will last forever. While it may seem his jokes are only intended to make the audience laugh, they give the British crowd a sense of relief that not all Americans support, at times, problematic political figures. Looking back at this scene and the rest of Williams’ material, it is quite easy to see why so many people adore this man and his sense of humor. He was an incredibly multitalented performer, from a standup comedian, to a great movie actor, as well as a giving human rights activist. Anyone who has watched this clip will miss his natural comic genius.