To gain experience in journalism, it's helpful to interview
people from an array of nations, people with every kind of
personality and enough people to span the breadth of emotion from
abject sorrow to riotous humor. Or ...
... you can interview Robin Williams for 20 minutes.
Seems like you're becoming a sports addict. Living in the Bay
Area, do you go to Oakland Raiders games and sit with the maniacs
in the Black Hole?
"I've never had the balls or the medication to do that," Williams
says. "If the original Vikings saw those guys, they'd go, [thick
Norwegian accent] 'You can't come raping and pillaging with us!
Not dressed like that! In your bad mime makeup and nipples pulled
out like that! My God, you've even dressed the women and the
babies like that?'
"I mean, Raiders fans are in their full war gear and the giant
metallic faces--and those are just the vendors! And you see them,
the vendors, calling, [peanut-vendor voice] 'Hey, welding here! I
got welding! Who wants acetylene? Who needs the acetylene?'"
How about hockey? Ever go to San Jose Sharks games?
"Went the other day for the first time. I couldn't figure out why
the players were going on and off the ice so much. I kept asking
my friend, 'Is their table ready?' [Friend's disgusted voice]
'No, they're switching lines, you moron!' And I love the fights!
They have to take off all their clothes! Pretty soon, you're
pleading, 'Get a room, boys!' And they finally get off their pads
and suddenly stare into each other's eyes and go, 'Just hold me!'
"Then the refs--after just standing there as the players pummel
each other into large blood clots--send them to the little
penalty boxes. And they just sit in there and listen to
aggression-therapy tapes. [Jack Nicholson voice] 'Now, boys, you
gotta stop beatin' the hell out of each other with them sticks!'"
We saw you at World Series games in San Francisco and Anaheim.
How'd you like it?
"Oh, mama, those ThunderStix are hellish, aren't they? They look
like a condom that's been badly used! When they pound them all
together, it's ridiculous! Even Marlee Matlin is going, 'It's a
little loud, don't you think?'"
Did you enjoy the scene in McCovey Cove?
"I stood out there once and just watched. The surfboard guy
sitting on the board. The people in inner tubes, ferry boats,
little dinghies. And the sharks are going, 'Isn't life
wonderful?' It's like us going to a restaurant with a lobster
Did you think Dusty Baker's kid was cute?
"I talked to that kid afterward. I'm like, 'Hi, little boy! How
old are you?' [Deep, trucker's voice] 'Forty-two, a------!' I
like the guy that saved him at home plate, J.T. Snow. That guy is
going to get more women now than he ever dreamed possible. Women
will be like, [falsetto] 'Oh! You're the man who saved that
little black child from certain death!'"
Your riff on how golf was invented may be the funniest bit ever
done on the sport. What do you make of the Augusta--women's
"Well, it's like, [redneck voice] 'Now, what the hell offends
y'all here? Is it the balls or the putter?' Now they're going to
put on the Masters without sponsors. So that's no ads and no
women--it's like the Catholic Open now! And Hootie will come out
on the veranda and announce, 'O.K., y'all! We finally got one
sponsor: the Vatican!'"
So you have 50 bicycles, you're tight with Lance Armstrong, and
you never miss the Tour de France, right?
"I love it over there. I love to watch his teammates, the
domestiques. These guys go flat-out for whatever Lance
needs--food, water, pull him up a hill, radio's broken, whatever.
They're all hunched over on their bikes, bringing him things.
It's like, [large announcer voice] 'Quasimodo is Gunga Din!' The
coach says, 'Hey, would you mind coming back to the van and
getting a water for Lance?' And the guy has to drop all the way
back, get the water, bust his hump all the way back to the front
and hand him the water. And then Lance goes, [snob voice] 'This
one's too warm.' Turns out domestique is French for slave!"
You were spotted recently at the same party as Serena Williams.
What do you think of the Williams sisters?
"I just loved it this summer when they wouldn't let that one guy
[Tommy Haas] wear a sleeveless white T-shirt, and then Serena
comes out in outfits Carl Lewis threw away for being too
revealing. [Whoopi Goldberg voice] 'Damn, Serena, you don't need
to see no doctor! In that outfit, he can see everything you got
"But the Williams sisters have gotten a lot of guys to watch
tennis. They're out on the court practically naked, grunting.
[Goes into gruntfest] 'Ahh! Oooh! Unngh!' Who needs those
phone-sex operators? You can just listen to tennis!"
B/W PHOTO: JEFFERY A. SALTER
"Oh, mama, ThunderStix are hellish, aren't they? They look like a
condom that's been badly used!"