Robin Williams Saves the Day

Posted on February 28, 2008  Comments (0)

And now for another something completely different: Robin Williams Saves the Day at TED When Tech Fails

Before the host, BBC World presenter Matt Frei, could finish his introduction of panelist Sergey Brin from Google, he announced there was a technical issue. Frei didn’t quite know what to do with the empty air while waiting for a fix and joked that the voice in his earphone (the producer) was telling him a long, elaborate political joke about Poland.

That’s when a voice behind me spoke up, presumably a heckler, and began speaking loudly as if he were conducting a live news feed, joking that he was reporting live from TED

The crowd by then had realized it was Williams. Encouraged by their reaction, he continued reporting to some unseen BBC anchorman from his seat: “Well, they said they found the wire, but it’s not plugged in.”

Williams was then invited to take the stage and the crowd roared. He spent the next ten minutes or so riffing on Stephen Hawking (who spoke at TED earlier in the day from Cambridge, England) and the end of the universe — which will take place “exactly in one hour,” he said, looking at his watch.

He joked again about the technical glitch, indicating that although the BBC wasn’t working, audience members “with their phones are going, ‘I’m getting all of this!'” And it was true. Dozens of people were capturing the stand-up act on their phones.

He riffed about a new Apple product called the “iWhy?” and a few seconds later said he had just one question about the British royal family: “All that money and no dental plan,” he deadpanned, which got a lot of laughs and a few sympathetic nods toward the BBC presenter sitting behind him (who appeared to have perfectly fine dental hygiene).

He didn’t spare panelist Brin and Google, noting that if you walk into Google you see everyone in front of their computer sitting on exercise balls, “which I think is how they’re hatching new employees.”

Related: Macavity”™s a Mystery CatMinistry of Silly Walks

Now back to your regularly scheduled science: Your Inner Fish

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