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Pittsburgh comedy community mourns loss of Robin Williams

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Robin Williams smiles as he looks out at the crowd of Service members assembled for the USO Holiday Tour at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan . Few were more stunned and saddened by Robin Williams' death than the US servicemen and women he loved to entertain, be it on the frontlines or by their hospital beds. Williams has taken part in no fewer than six USO entertainment tours since 2002, the military charity said August 12, 2014, delighting nearly 90,000 troops across 13 countries including Afghanistan and Iraq.

The fact is that we will never see another Robin Williams comedy show or unforgettable performance as an actor is unfathomable. That a man who brought happiness to so many millions couldn’t find happiness himself is humbling, but his inimitable body of work will forever be timeless and immortal. Pittsburgh comedians reacted to the loss of this comedy legend.

John Dick Winters: “I had two comedy tapes when I was a boy; George Carlin’s ‘Doin’ it Again’ and Robin Williams’ ‘Live at the Met.’ Now, I’m a comedian, and at least 50 percent of the blame can fall on Mr. Williams.”

Krish Mohan: “When I was in college, I was obsessed with the ‘Live on Broadway’ special, which taught me to have energy, passion and emotion to everything I say.”

Matt Light: “ ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ was my go-to movie any time I was feeling down as a child. Robin Williams made me smile at times when no one could, so I started comedy so one day, I could do the same.”

Michael Buzzelli: “Robin Williams had a tremendous impact on me and my comedy. I remember never wanting to miss an episode of ‘Mork and Mindy’ when I was a kid. His unbridled enthusiasm for comedy was infectious. I admired the way he could riff on any subject, much like his mentor Jonathan Winters.”

John Ralich: “Robin made an impact on me from a young age. His commitment to even the most eccentric character was amazing. His fast-paced antics were always pure genius. No other entertainer could pull off slapstick or dramatic like Robin Williams.”

Zach Funk: “Robin Williams was one of the first, if not the first, comedians I knew by name. Also with his noncomedic work, he taught me that while you can make a living by being funny, being funny doesn’t have to be your sole defining characteristic.”

Shannon Norman: “He was inescapable when I was a child, with good reason. The first time I saw ‘Live at the Roxy,’ I thought, ‘All right, whatever planet this guy is from, I have to find a way onto his ship.’ He was the human equivalent of a John Coltrane record.”

Derek Minto: “He was impossibly quick, impossibly funny and impossibly loved by almost every comedian I know — a rarity. He is a constant reminder of what true genius on stage looks like.”

Matt Wohlfarth is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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