Robin takes his cuts

Originally published on January 20, 2003 | Sports Illustrated | written by Rick Railly

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 tank.

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 rights flap?
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 anyhow!'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!

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