Robin Williams, it’s fair to say, was an inimitable performer: a livewire comedian who mixed pathos and foolhardiness in a way very few have ever managed.
One impersonator, though, has come as close as it’s probably possible to capturing the icon. Impressionist Jamie Costa uploaded test footage on Tuesday, October 12th, showcasing a scene for a possible Williams biopic.
What follows is an eerily accurate impression by Costa, featuring all the jitteriness, energy, charisma, and emotion of Williams. The mannerisms and accentuations are all on point.
The public seem to unanimously agree, with the video currently trending at number 21 on YouTube with over 2.5 million views in just two days. It’s a testament to the performance that it’s going hugely viral.
Costa has actually impersonated him before: in 2014, not long after the sad passing of Williams, his two-minute impression, Never Had a Friend Like Him, was well-received, featuring Costa portraying various classic Williams characters.
It’s clear that Costa has aligned his career with Williams – when you’re that good at impersonating someone, of course you would. But there’s something a little uncomfortable about it.
The new test footage focuses on the aftermath of Williams discovering that his friend John Belushi has just died: it certainly allows Costa to show his dramatic range but it feels somewhat manipulative.
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It’s also had the unfortunate add-on effect of Williams’ daughter Zelda being sent the video by lots of people, leading her to say, “y’all spamming me an impression of my late Dad on one of his saddest days is weird.”
It’s perfectly fine for Costa to try to boost his career but Hollywood doesn’t care for sentiment nor are they swayed by public opinion – if a biopic of Williams is made (and it’s certainly too soon to be making such a film anyway), we’ll most likely have to settle for something closer to Rami Malek’s prosthetic-heavy hammy portrayal of Freddie Mercury.
Watch Costa’s excellent impersonation below and remember the incredible spirit of one of comedy’s true greats.
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