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Upon hearing of Robin Williams’ death, I witnessed many a friend attempt to choose his or her favorite of the actors’ many terrific films… most of these attempts dissolved into chaotic indecision. So let’s make it easier — while Williams’ dramatic genius is well documented in pictures like Good Will Hunting and Dead Poets Society, his penchant for the dark and twisted well chronicled in Insomnia and One Hour Photo, we’ll always have a very special place in our hearts for his comedy. As such, we limit our expedition to this realm: which is Robin Williams’ funniest role?
There are a few candidates that leap out as frontrunners — Mrs. Doubtfire, for one. It’s hard to top a film in which a grown man, disguised as a husky Scottish nanny, tosses a piece of fruit at Pierce Brosnan. But we’d be remiss to discount some of Williams’ other laugh riots: He’s delightful in the courageous and sharp Good Morning, Vietnam. He’s outrageously kooky in the oddball dark comedy The Fisher King. And without even showing his face, he’s a tour de force in Disney’s Aladdin. Peruse the complete list of Williams laughers below, and then chime in with your feelings.
Williams plays a newly separated father of three who dresses up like a kindly housekeeper in order to spend time with his estranged kids.
Funniest moment: An unexpected run-in with the legal representative charged with determining his aptitude as a parent (and human being) forces Williams to dash from room to room, donning and shedding his Mrs. Doubtfire disguise, juggling accents and sticking his face in pies.
GOOD MORNING, VIETNAM
Williams plays a ‘Nam-based disc jockey keeps his Army base lively with his irreverent radio show.
Funniest moment: Any one of Williams’ rapid fire on-air bits (much to the chagrin of the stuffed shirts in charge).
THE FISHER KING
Williams plays a delusional derelict who entertains Medieval fantasies years after the death of his wife.
Funniest moment: Williams’ forceful escort of new friend Jack (Jeff Bridges) across the street, completely unfazed by oncoming traffic.
Williams plays a live action version of the animated sailor on a perplexing and listless quest through the neighborhood of Sweethaven.
Funniest moment: Williams’ genius is in his sardonic murmurs; after every ridiculous affirmation by one of the lively Sweethaven residents, Williams will mutter something nearly unintelligible and certainly hilarious under his breath.
Williams plays a gay nightclub owner who is married to his star performer (Nathan Lane) and father to a notably ungrateful young buck (Dan Futterman) who brings his girlfriend and her conservative parents over for dinner… prompting Lane to dress up as a woman. We’re noticing a trend.
Funniest moment: In truth, Williams is the straight man in this picture, letting Lane take most of the broad, wild comedy. But he does have plenty of good deadpan one-liners to enjoy.
Williams plays a doctor who holds dear to the maxim that laugher is the best medicine when he makes it his mission to lift the spirits of his ailing patients.
Funniset moment: That old lady squeezing noodles can’t be beat.
Williams plays an all powerful Genie, tasked with the wishes (and friendship) of dopey street rat Aladdin when the latter discovers his magical lamp.
Funniest moments: It’s gotta be his entrance. Williams puts on a veritable stand-up routine when he meets “Al” for the first time in the dank caves below the desert.
Which is your favorite? Cast your vote!