NYC comedians remember Robin Williams

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Jim Dolan has the story from Times Square. (WABC)

Reaction on the death of Robin Williams is coming from fans, friends, heavy hitters in Hollywood, and even the President of the United States.

President Obama said in a statement, "He was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien, but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit."

Williams, a staple in New York and its comedy clubs, rose through the ranks.

A photo showed him performing on the street outside the Met in 1979.

Comedian Ross Bennett had them going at "Comic Strip Live" Monday night on the East Side.

But the room held echoes of another time and another comic who performed there often, and there was no one like him.

"As I'm watching him, I'm realizing that he's better than I will ever be," Bennett said.

Bennett and just about all the comedians from his generation knew Robin Williams.

As big a star as there was, he never acted like it.

Ross Goldberg saw him last at a comedy festival in San Francisco.

"He was just sweet. You know, 'Hi, how are you? Did you have a nice set? What are you doing? Are you working?' Those are really the questions he asked me at Comedy Day in San Francisco, and I was just blown away that he would take the time to even do that," Goldberg said.

Williams' entertainment footprint can be seen by those from across the industry mourning him.

Steven Spielberg said, "Robin was a lightning storm of comic genius and our laughter was the thunder that sustained him. He was a pal and I can't believe he's gone."

Chris Columbus who directed him in Mrs. Doubtfire said, "To watch Robin work was a special privilege. His performances came from some spiritual and otherworldly place. He truly was one of the few people who deserved the title of genius."

Steve Martin tweeted, "I could not be more stunned by the loss of Robin Williams, mensch, great talent, acting partner, genuine soul."

"He didn't do the same thing and he even did it better than everybody and you look at him and go, "Why am I even trying this?'" Goldberg said.

Comedians especially appreciated what Williams could do.

"He knew his reputation was to be the funniest guy that they've seen. He knew that he had to be the funniest guy every night," Bennett said.

Another comedian, Bob Saget tweeted, "His heart was as big as his genius. Rest in peace, Robin Williams."

Members of the U.S. Military also remembered Williams for his many performances on U.S. bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. One tweet said, "He could make you laugh anywhere."
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