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Trying to Know Robin Williams

robinwilliamsRobin was a part of my life from the very beginning.

I was born just after my father made Dead Poets Society, and Robin became a close friend of my parents. I slept in his daughter Zelda's crib as a baby, and went with his family to Disneyland for the first time when I was not even a toddler. I remember him in short swaths — short bullet points along the timeline of my life. Time with him was often sparse, and moreso as I got older. But he was always a part of it. When I went over to my mother's apartment tonight, and she embraced me, sobbing that he was the "best man we knew," she reminded me of the time he picked me up from middle school "just to make [me] seem cool." That afternoon, he bought me my first adult video game (Half-Life) and my first anime (Cowboy Bebop, Serial Experiments: Lain, and most excitedly, Dead Leaves). He encouraged me to "do voices" long before I ever booked a voiceover gig, and inspired me to do comedy long before I ever got onstage. The last time we saw each other, we spoke to each other almost exclusively as Christopher Walken, which we did a few times in recent years, and meant a lot to me because he had told me it was the best Walken he'd heard.

To get a compliment or a laugh out of him — both of which he gave freely and without pretense — was gratifying in a way I cannot describe. He was my hero and my friend, but that's a gross oversimplification. He was so much more than a hero — I couldn't do anything I do, or be anything I am, without his inspiration or influence. And yet, today I am forced to reconcile that he was so much less than a friend. Maybe not less, but… different. READ MORE

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What's Every Former 'Daily Show' Correspondent Up to Now?

For a long time, SNL was clearly the biggest incubator of comedic talent in America, turning complete unknowns into movie stars and household names on a regular basis. But over the past seventeen years, The Daily Show has increasingly become close to its equal in the comedy world. For a comedic performer looking to make a name for themselves, becoming a correspondent for Jon Stewart is one of the most coveted jobs around, and for good reason. The show has had dozens of contributors and correspondents over the past couple decades – several of whom you know, but many who you don't. Let's take a look at every one of them and see just how impressive The Daily Show's talent scouting and development has been.

To make this easier, let's start at the beginning. The year is 1996, Craig Kilborn is hosting The Daily Show as the first anchor of America's most trusted news source, and with him he had a helluva news team. First, let's start with the original team… READ MORE