Robin Williams was a national treasure. He was a gifted entertainer who was able to make all of us laugh. The Good Morning, Vietnam star also traveled abroad to entertain American troops. An extraordinary video clip of one of those performances shows us just how talented the late comedian was and how much the troops enjoyed him.
He had a broad acting range that endeared him to us all. It’s been six years since he took his own life. But, his movies live on. While he was able to be serious, as in his roles in Dead Poet Society and Good Will Hunting, he will best be remembered for his comedy and stand up routines.
Nobody could make us laugh quite like Robin Williams!
Troops Suddenly Turn Away From Robin Williams
In 2004, the Academy Award winner traveled with the USO to Camp Arifjan in Kuwait to entertain deployed service members. What happened is something the crowd, and Williams, likely never forgot!
The comedian told the troops there he recently had gotten out of rehab, “I was violating my standards quicker than I could lower them,” Williams told the laughing audience. But, what happened next really got his attention.
Everyone, and I mean everyone, went from laughing with him to suddenly turning their backs on Williams when music began to play.
The comedian wasn’t sure what was going on, but he was moved to take off his hat and clasp his hands.
Williams stood silently but he was confused. Were they ignoring him? Were they all about to be attacked?
As the music faded, the brilliant comedian quipped:
“I’ve never had an entire audience just go, forget you!”
Williams then performed an about face of his own to raucous laughter.
Once the audience was all facing forwarded and engaged, he asked them what had happened. That’s when Robin Williams learned about “Retreat”.
“Retreat” is traditionally when the flag is lowered and secured. As this happens, military members take a moment to pay respect to the flag and what it stands for.
So basically, Robin Williams was upstaged by the American flag!
Robin Williams Was A Genius At Improv
This special video shows what a tremendous improv performer Robin Williams was. He didn’t know why he was suddenly ignored but he knew to be quiet and respectful.
After everyone faced him again, he also immediately changed up his comedy act to include what had just happened. This late great was clearly quick on his feet.
If you are a Robin Williams fan, you will enjoy the video below.
Williams learned that retreat signifies the end of the duty day and is a signal to pay respects.
At the first sound of the retreat bugle call, all personnel outdoors should stop and face the flag, or when not visible, in the direction the music is played. And, that’s exactly what he witnessed!
Williams’ support of our troops was both honorable and memorable. He went halfway across the world to entertain them and he gave them a show they will never forget!
NEXT UP: Watch Robin Williams Hilariously Roast Richard Pryor! (VIDEO)