Steven Spielberg is one of the world’s most artful directors and storytellers. While he was in post-production with “Jurassic Park,” he was also shooting the epic film “Schindler’s List.”
Recreating such a horrific part of history, one that personally affected his own family, weighed heavily on Spielberg. He describes his state of mind while jumping between the films as having a “tremendous amount of resentment and anger.” The schedule alone would be stressful enough, but the subject matter of “Schindler’s List” left Spielberg emotionally depleted after each day.
So he turned to the good doctor, or at least the funniest man ever to play one: Robin Williams. Patch Adams is right. Laughter is the best medicine. Williams would call Spielberg just to lift his spirits.
“Robin knew what I was going through, and once a week, Robin would call me on schedule, and he would do 15 minutes of stand-up on the phone,” recounts Spielberg. “I would laugh hysterically, because I had to release so much … the way Robin is on the telephone, he’d always hang up on the loudest, best laugh you’d give him. He’d never say goodbye, just hang up on the biggest laugh.”
Spielberg and Williams only worked together on one film: “Hook,” starring Williams as the effervescent Peter Pan. They became friends, and later, William’s sensitivity to Spielberg’s emotions during one of his hardest times became essential.
All of us need a little pick-me-up now and then. Life is hard. A good laugh is good therapy. We should make the time to make each other laugh. To have a session of side-splitting therapy.
Friendship is best when we share the ups, the downs and everything in between. Delivering a good chuckle to a friend when they are down is a gift that makes the moment a little more bearable. Looking at the funny side of life requires our care and attention. As Robin said: “You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.”