Beyond the Marquee co-founder and web-series host Jon Donahue is no stranger to rubbing elbows with the Hollywood Elite. For over a decade Jon has been a working both in front of and behind the camera with some of tinsel-towns biggest names on such films including Angels and Demons, Saving Mr Banks, Spiderman 3, Star Trek, Cloud Atlas, Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2, The Ladykillers, Captain Phillips and the upcoming A Hologram for a King.
As the world still copes from the recent passing of comedian/actor Robin Williams, Jon shared with some of our team (during a recent shoot for our BTM web-series), a truly unforgettable moment of an evening with Robin following a day of shooting on 2007’s “License to Wed“, and has offered to share it with our readers.
Click ahead to read in Jon’s own words about the special moment shared with the legendary performer.
After shooting “License to Wed” one night, Robin invited me to go with him and a few friends to Upright Citizens Brigade (“UCB”) in Hollywood. He was a guest host that evening.
You see, Robin, Adam (his longtime stand-in) and I would do comedy skits/impressions and entertain the crew (& ourselves) between shots all day long. Robin enjoyed my Owen Wilson impression, while I loved Adam’s Michael Caine and Robin’s Arnold Schwarzenegger.
I remember being surprised at all the energy Robin had after working all day…he was absolutely hilarious (as usual) and as sharp as a knife with his comedy that night, even after a full day of filming. Robin was on stage with the UCB Improv troop and they were picking volunteers out of the audience to come down and do some improv games with them. A sea of hands waved in the air. It seemed like EVERYBODY in the audience wanted the chance to test their improv chops with the comedy legend.
Unlike Robin, I was tired and just wanted to watch the show. I saw Robin look up in our direction. But I didn’t raise my hand. The first set of games & volunteers came and went. When it was time to choose new volunteers for the next round, Robin, again, looked in my direction. Again, I wasn’t raising my hand. Maybe it was both being tired and nerves? Who knows? Well, all of the volunteers had been chosen and the last improv game was about to begin….when Robin yelled, “Wait! I have one more!” He came up into the audience and grabbed me by the arm and escorted me down onto the stage.
I guess I was playing.
I remember being overwhelmed at how quick everyone had been, and both the volunteers and the UCB gang were all jumping in for a laugh. I finally found my spot, said my bit, got a big laugh, and that was it.
Hey, at least I got a laugh!
After the show, he said, “see you tomorrow on set” and that was it.
As promised, the next day, Robin came up to me and said, “You didn’t get to do much last night, but what you did was good…keep going back to UCB!”.
Robin’s advice always stuck with me. I was honored and humbled that he, the man who I grew up watching as Mork from Ork on television and as Popeye on the big screen, had that much confidence in my comedic ability.
It is my favorite memory of him and I am deeply saddened at the loss of this comedic genius. I now plan on finally taking Robin’s advice and enrolling in professional improv classes at UCB next year.
In closing, when I said goodbye to him on the last day of filming, Robin replied, “We had a lot of laughs, didn’t we?!”…yes we did, Robin. Thank you for the encouragement and making me laugh until I cried.
Rest in Peace.
Jon also shares a couple pictures of an invaluable keepsake, a wrap gift given to cast & crew from Robin Williams from the film; “License to Wed”. This hardbound script held a wonderful personalized message from the comedian to all those he worked and laughed with. Truly a class act.
In honor of one of his favorite Robin William’s movies’ “POPEYE”, check out Jon Donahue’s Beyond the Marquee web-series report from the island of Malta, used as the filming location of Sweethaven (a.k.a. Popeye’s Village) in the 1980 “Popeye” movie