Re-Release Robin Williams’ Secret Podcast
Somedays, it feels like there are more podcasts hosted by comedians than there are drops of water in the ocean or feces-encrusted plastic spheres in all the world’s IKEA ball pits. But, frustratingly, there was once a podcast hosted by one of the funniest, most beloved performers of all-time — and it’s nowhere to be found online.
Yes, the great Robin Williams once had his own podcast, sort of. Technically, it wasn’t a “podcast” since that term wasn’t coined until several years later. But back in 2000, Williams partnered with Audible for what was billed as a “web-based variety show” and titled RobinWilliams@audible.com.
Williams’ format is downright commonplace today — original material paired with long-form, free-flowing interviews with a celebrity guest. So basically, just a few cats and a ton of awkward grudges away from being WTF. Williams chatted with famous friends like Jeff Bridges and Whoopi Goldberg, along with comedy greats like Buddy Hackett and Jonathan Winters. He also spoke with legendary writer Harlan Ellison…
…and discussed the backlash to the Star Wars prequels with George Lucas.
But at the time, no one knew what the hell to make of this new project, as evidenced by the time Williams went on The Tonight Show and had to explain the concept of “downloadable sound” to a visibly confused Jay Leno.
In retrospect, Williams was an internet pioneer. Podcasting sites like Podnews have subsequently questioned whether or not Williams was “the first podcaster.” And Williams seemed to know that he was breaking fresh ground at the time, claiming that it was “kind of a new concept for the web.”
But for some reason, except for the odd clip on YouTube, this seminal show isn’t available to listen to anywhere. Seriously, there are hours and hours of podcasts hosted by the likes of Paris Hilton and John Stamos online, but RobinWilliams@audible.com has been scrubbed from the internet like a common HBO Max show. According to the Robin Williams Fansite, the shows were removed from Audible due to “licensing contracts expiring.” And although Williams’ management “re-released them on iTunes,” the episodes were swiftly taken down for “unknown reasons.” While the Fansite briefly hosted links to the episodes, those too were scrapped at the request of the “copyright owners.”
So please, won’t someone make these episodes available? Charge us $1.99 on iTunes, fine. Shoehorn in some commercials for reverse mortgage scams and boner pills, we don’t care. It just seems like a grave injustice that Robin Williams has a podcast no one can hear while 384 episodes of Gwyneth Paltrow’s goop Podcast are available at the touch of a button.
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