But comedy is a tight club, which is why watching late-night hosts Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers toast their departed friend and peer was so touching.
Jimmy Fallon said Williams’s brain “was always thinking 10 steps ahead of what he was saying. He was like the Muhammad Ali of comedy You would think, ‘I’m never going to see anyone like this human, ever.'” Fallon ended the segment by climbing atop his desk for a Dead Poets Society-style tribute.
O’Brien, who reported Williams’s death live to his audience, told a touching anecdote about Williams reaching out to him during the Tonight Show kerfuffle, after calling him “the best talk show guest ever, probably.” Williams sent O’Brien a bicycle (the pair shared a love of cycling) – a bright orange and green, shamrock-painted bike. “Does it look ridiculous?” Williams asked when O’Brien called him about the gift. “[Williams] had just that amazing spirit of fun.”
Meyers offered a heartfelt plea for more open discussions about mental health issues like the ones that plagued Williams. “If there’s anything you can do to honor his memory, I would hope it would be to use this opportunity to educate us more about this terrible affliction. So we just want to say that we miss Robin, but we’re also very lucky to have had him at all.”
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
For more on Robin Williams’s tragic death and his legacy of comic genius, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.