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19 Small But Clever Details In Robin Williams Comedies

June 25, 2021 4.7k votes 573 voters 34.1k views19 items

List RulesVote up the small details from Robin Williams comedies that put the "fun" in "funny."

Most Robin Williams fans know he was notorious for comedic improvising, often filming entirely unscripted takes that resulted in some of the funniest film scenes of all time. But other movie moments took careful and meticulous planning to pull off their magic. Some of these smaller, subtler details may have gone unnoticed by even the most fervent Williams fans. 

From fun facts to hidden meanings, all of these deets will make you ready for yet another rewatch of Williams's funniest flicks, whether it's that animated children's film or a suprisingly poignant comedy about life during war. Vote up the cleverest tidbits that prove comedy films can run just as deep as any other genre.

  • Photo: Mrs. Doubtfire / 20th Century Fox

    Robin Williams's Brother Makes A Cameo In 'Mrs. Doubtfire'

    Robin Williams's brother, Robert Todd Williams, was a bartender, bar owner, and winery founder. So, he accepted a bit part in Mrs. Doubtfire as the bartender in the pool scene where Pierce Brosnan's character Stu is the victim of a "run-by fruiting." 

    It was Robert's only ever acting role, and the credits list him as "Dr. Toad," his lifelong nickname.

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  • Photo: Birdcage / MGM/UA Distribution Co.

    In 'The Birdcage' Kitchen Scene, Williams Falls By Accident

    The characters' hysteria in The Birdcage "F*ck the Shrimp!" scene ended up being hysterical to viewers, but the part where Williams slips and falls down wasn't actually in the script. While the actors don't break character, a closer watch reveals Hank Azaria laughing and Williams's voice cracking during a subsequent line. As Azaria told The A.V. Club:

    It’s one of those things that happens that you never really think they’re going to use, but I was so emotionally upset in the scene - I was supposed to be crying - that I just pretended that he was making me cry even more. But I was actually laughing.

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  • Photo: Hook / Tri-Star Pictures

    There Are So Many Cameos In 'Hook'

    Apart from the obvious famous faces (yes, that's Gwyneth Paltrow, Steven Spielberg's goddaughter, playing Young Wendy), many other big names joined the Hook party who might have slipped past viewers.

    Carrie Fisher and George Lucas are the couple kissing on a bridge who get sprinkled with Tinkerbell's pixie dust. Glenn Close plays the pirate put in the "Boo Box," while David Crosby and Jimmy Buffett also appear as pirates. And the police detective investigating the missing children? That's musician Phil Collins.  

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  • Photo: Mrs. Doubtfire / 20th Century Fox

    The Melting Icing In 'Mrs. Doubtfire' Was Completely Unscripted

    Williams was well-known for doing improvised takes in his films. In Mrs. Doubtfire, director Chris Columbus had so many different takes that he ended up with enough footage to make PG, PG-13, R, and NC-17 edits. 

    One ad-libbed scene that made the final cut turned out to be one of the film's most famous. When Daniel Hillard (Williams) loses his Mrs. Doubtfire mask to the street below, he stuffs his face into a cake to disguise himself to the social worker who has stopped by. 

    On set, however, the hot lights melted the icing, causing the frosting to fall off Williams's face in clumps. Of course, he went with it, never breaking character and offering the social worker the fallen icing as cream in her coffee cup. 

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