Jimmy Fallon gave an emotional salute to Robin Williams on Tuesday night’s Tonight Show, celebrating the late actor-comedian’s improvisational genius and his “Shakespearean” ability to weave in and out of characters. “He was one of a kind,” Fallon said. “He was one in a million. He was unbelievable.”
Fallon introduced the segment with a heartfelt tribute to Williams’ talents. “You would watch him, and you would cry laughing,” the host said, overcome with emotion. “And you would think, ‘I’m never going to see anyone like this human ever.’ It’s just amazing. His brain was always thinking 10 steps ahead of what he was saying. He was like the Muhammad Ali of comedy.”
After offering a quick, spot-on impression of Williams’ shape-shifting character improv, Fallon then offered fans a prime example of Williams’ “divine madness” with a flashback to his first Tonight Show appearance with Johnny Carson. That clip found the comic venturing into the audience, offering a number of theatrical impressions and cracking up everyone around him.
At the end of the segment, Fallon gave one final tribute, standing on his desk and saying, “O Captain, My Captain: You will be missed,” a reference to Williams’ iconic performance in the 1989 film Dead Poets Society.
“Robin and I were great friends, suffering from the same little-known disease: depression,” said Chevy Chase. “I never could have expected this ending to his life, and to ours with him. God bless him and God bless us all for his life! I cannot believe this. I am overwhelmed with grief. What a wonderful man/boy and what a tremendous talent in the most important art of any time – comedy! I loved him.”
“So sad to think about this,” said Danny DeVito. “Hard to speak. Hard to say. Hard to take. All I can think about is what a joy he was to be with. I’m devastated. I’m sending my love to his family and everyone who loved him. My heart is broken by this news.”