Robin Williams: Larry's personal stories and memories - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Robin Williams: Larry's personal stories and memories

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - You weren't likely to forget the time you met Robin Williams if you were lucky enough to do so. Our own Larry Himmel experienced a Robin Williams performance before he was a movie star, and says it's something he'll never forget.

Long before Robin Williams was a comedic icon, he was an up and coming performer who delivered side splitting shows in San Francisco. Larry first crossed paths with Williams in the early 1970s, when larry signed up for an open mic spot at a comedy club called the Holy City Zoo.

"If you were judged to be the best comic at open mic night, you were given the opening spot the following week to work at this comedy club. I'd never done it before, so as a lark I signed up and I went to this dingy little club.

"I did a 10-minute set of really bad jokes. It went over awful, but I thought it went okay compared to the other rousters around me," Larry said.

But there was one rouster Larry hadn't seen yet. And this wacky, energetic comedian named Robin Williams was like no one he had seen before.

"He literally took every laugh out of there. There wasn't any air left in the place, people were holding their sides, and he just completely did it off the cuff," Larry said.

Williams made off with all the laughs, and Larry didn't need to hear from the judges to know who won.

"I just kind of slinked out of the club that night. I'm sure I didn't win that night, and I'm sure he didn't care if he did," he said.

They'd actually work together several years later at The Comedy Store in La Jolla. Larry was the house emcee and Williams was the headliner for a couple dozen shows.

"He was always personable. A little quieter than the demonstrative guy we saw on stage, but he always took over a room," Larry said.

He would go on to take over the hearts of millions before his untimely death, including those lucky enough to share a room with him.

"As we find out so tragically today, everybody loved him," Larry said.

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