Billy Crystal: Paying Tribute to Robin Williams Was the Hardest Thing I've Ever Had to Do

Comic legend passed away last month at the age of 63

By Lily Harrison Sep 16, 2014 4:53 PMTags
Billy Crystal, Emmy Awards 2014 ShowVince Bucci/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images

Billy Crystal opened up about losing his best friend, Robin Williams, with Matt Lauer in an exclusive interview with the Today show earlier this morning

The comedian became understandably overwhelmed with emotion when discussing the his death and his memorable Emmys tribute.

"He's my closest friend, and to do it with some humor and only in a short period of time that I had to do it was difficult," Crystal explained to Lauer.

"It's the hardest thing I've ever had to do, [being] the spokesman for everybody in front of 17 million people."

Adam Bettcher/Getty Images for Starkey Hearing Foundation

Crystal recalled his unique bond with the Oscar-winning actor, sharing that "we'd talk three, four times a day, sometimes, but then the riffs were still great. We'd go late into the night like two jazz musicians who just got new horns."

This marks only the second time that Crystal has spoken about Williams' passing.

Shortly after his death, he took to Twitter to write, "No words."

And as many watched, just weeks later, Crystal took the stage at Los Angeles' Nokia Theatre to preside over a heartfelt stand-alone tribute to his longtime colleague.

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"He made us laugh, hard, any time you saw him," he began. "As genius as he was onstage, he was the greatest friend you could ever imagine—supportive, protective, loving," Crystal continued. It's very hard to talk about him in the past because he's so present in all of our lives.

"For almost 40 years, he was the brightest star in the comedy galaxy, but though some of the brightest stars are extinct now…They float in the heavens, so far away from us now, their beautiful light will continue to shine on us forever...[and sometimes] you'll think to yourselves, 'Robin Williams, what a concept.'"

 (E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.) 

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