“The Ultimate Robin Williams Tribute Experience” comes to the M.V. Film Center for one night on Saturday, August 5. Standup comedian Roger Kabler, who has been fascinated by Robin since he was 17, does impressions of the legendary comedian who died in 2014.
“Shortly after Robin’s passing, I was overcome by the feeling that I was possessed by his spirit,” Kabler says. “It was a remarkable experience that I still can’t explain.”
Kabler never met the famous comedian, but Williams saw Kabler’s impressions of him, and liked them. Kabler titled his act “Overactors Anonymous,” and has done many different impressions of other characters, including Robert DeNiro. He also has done parodies of singers. He takes requests from the audience. After performing in the U.S. for five years, he plans to tour Canada with his impressions of Williams, whom he even looks like.
“It’s a real high, doing him,” says Kabler, who performs impressions from a lot of Williams’ shows, including “Mork and Mindy,” his first success, with the famous Mork from Ork slogan, “na-nu na-nu.”
It’s understandable why Kable was inspired to perform as this celebrated comedian. Williams, who died by suicide in 2014, was best known for his improvisational skills. He won a Best Supporting Oscar in I998 for his role in “Good Will Hunting,” as well as Oscar nominations for “Good Morning, Vietnam,” “Dead Poets Society,” and “The Fisher King.” He also won Emmys for his performances in 1979, 1988, 1996, 2003, and 2010.
Williams was responsible for San Francisco’s comedy renaissance in the late 1970s. It was a time when he saw “the best brains of my time turned to mud.” Critic Vincent Canby found his monologues so intense that “his creative process could reverse into a complete meltdown.”
In 2004, Williams was voted 13th on “Comedy Central’s 100 Greatest Standups of All Time.” He appeared on posters and lunchboxes, as well as coloring books. Thanks to the success of “Mork and Mindy,” Williams appeared on the 1979 cover of Time magazine, and on the 1979 cover of Rolling Stone in a photo by Richard Avedon. Shortly after his death, the Time cover photo was installed in the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution. Kabler was inspired by his improvisational skills, and has used them to bring this master comedian to life in “The Ultimate Robin Williams Tribute Experience.”
Information and tickets to “The Ultimate Robin Williams Tribute Experience” are available at mvfilmsociety.com.