After some time as a stand-up comedian, Williams got his big break into television portraying Mork from Ork in “Happy Days.” The weirdo extraterrestrial was such a hit on the popular show that Williams got his own spin-off show, “Mork & Mindy.” In a typical episode, Mork would study a random aspect of humanity and report back to his boss, Orson, with what he learned. Usually, the show relied heavily on William’s unique humor and silliness, and the formula made Williams a television superstar. However, one episode in the show’s third season took a serious turn.
According to Dave Itzkoff in his autobiography, Robin, the episode titled “Mork Meets Robin Williams,” took a break from goofy antics to focus on real life. In the episode, Williams still played Mork, but also portrayed himself, which allowed audiences a glimpse into the pitfalls of celebrity.
Williams spends the entire episode stalked by fans, and Mork is frequently mistaken for the TV star, which is a tongue-in-cheek way of criticizing fans’ tendencies to equate actors with their characters. Mork doesn’t understand why humanity is so obsessed with celebrities and attempts to understand why they put such a huge importance on it by talking with Robin Williams.
When Mork finally gets the chance to speak with Williams, he explains that comedy helped him through a lonely childhood where his dad’s job forced him to move around a lot. He reveals that the characters he made up made him feel freer than he ever was in his real life. He admits, “It got to the point where I realized that the characters could say and do things that I was afraid to do myself.” Williams also reveals he feels smothered by fame, unable to say no to others, and no longer liberated by comedy.