Old School Americana & Nostalgia


Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg Get Emotional While Paying Tribute to Robin Williams

Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg Get Emotional While Paying Tribute to Robin Williams

Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Crystal never forget Robin Williams in their moments of celebration together because they were good friends. Williams, who died in 2014, was brought up by Goldberg when saluting Crystal at the Kennedy Center Honors. Crystal received his honor earlier this month. While Goldberg did give Crystal high marks for friendship, she also brought up the memory of Williams, too.

“I want to acknowledge…the person who should also be standing here with me is our brother Robin,” Goldberg said. “You are my family, you’re my big brother, and you have no idea what an honor it is to see you get your due. I love you. You’re a mensch. You’re a national treasure. National treasure. Billy, congratulations.”

All three actor-comedians stamped their names on Comic Relief efforts in the 1980s and 1990s. Whether it was homelessness or Hurricane Katrina, Crystal, Goldberg, and Williams were present to support fundraising efforts.

Ahead of the Kennedy Center Honors event, Crystal reflected upon Williams and his presence in his life. “I’m missing my friend Robin tonight, very much so, because of all of what we did together,” Crystal said. “I know that he would be here, and he is. So it’s special, and a lot of feelings for me tonight.”


#WhoopiGoldberg acknowledging #RobinWilliams during her tribute to #BillyCrystal has us all tearing up #KCHonors

♬ original sound – CBS

Billy Crystal Started As Stand-Up Comedian

At one time, they all appeared at different awards shows. When Goldberg won the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 2001, Williams and Crystal were there. Then, Crystal won the same award in 2007 and Williams and Goldberg joined him.

Queen Latifah, Dionne Warwick, Barry Gibb, and Renee Fleming also were recognized at the Kennedy Center Honors. The actual ceremony took place on December 3 and was shown on CBS last Wednesday, Entertainment Weekly reports.

Crystal started out working as a comedian who could do impressions. One of his best ones was of boxing legend Muhammad Ali. Crystal showed up at a roast for Ali and, when his time came to speak, he got up. He reached the microphone and pretty soon broke out into dueling impressions of Ali and ABC sportscaster Howard Cosell.

Crystal also found himself getting a regular cast member role on the ABC sitcom Soap. Jody Dallas, his character, was one of the first openly gay characters to appear on TV. That show ran for four seasons and opened more doors for Crystal to perform. Ultimately, Crystal started acting in movies like When Harry Met Sally…, Analyze That, Analyze This, Mr. Saturday Night, and City Slickers.

Born in New York City, Crystal’s early influences for his comedy came from a couple of TV staples, The Honeymooners and The Ed Sullivan Show. He’s mentioned in interviews that seeing stand-up comedians on variety shows also influenced him.

His first love, though, was baseball. He wanted to be a baseball player, but that didn’t work out. Still, he held a great admiration for Mickey Mantle in his heart. Crystal eventually was director and executive producer of 61*, which looked at the 1961 home run race between Mantle and Roger Maris.