The Stars and Stripes can bring Americans together. While Americans may disagree on a lot of things, most agree that America has, at the very least, a cool-looking flag.
The flag is also the basis of a famous Robin Williams routine from 1982.
The legendary comedian was cast in the role of the American flag on a television special titled “I Love Liberty.” Williams was not only dressed up as the flag but spoke on its behalf. Williams was an anthropomorphized version of the Stars and Stripes that was able to express its wants, desires, needs, and likes.
Needless to say, it was pretty funny.
Williams begins the routine by simply introducing himself.
“Thank you very much. I’m the one that they’re singing about. I’m the Stars and Stripes forever, Star Spangled Banner. You can call me Old Glory but let’s just keep it simple, just call me flag.”
At this point, Williams becomes concerned that some people in the venue do not have a good view of the stage.
“O say, can you see?” Williams asked the crowd.
“I Love Liberty” and Norman Lear
The event was put on by the advocacy group “People for the American Way.” The organization was founded by television producer Norman Lear. He’s known for his work on shows such as All in the Family, the Jeffersons, and Sanford and Son.
”The flag belongs to all of us,” Lear said in an interview about the television special. ”It moistens as many eyes on the left or the center as it does on the right. ‘I Love Liberty’ is an attempt to show that the country loves the flag, that it doesn’t belong to just a few.”
Lear founded People for the American Way in 1980. Some say the organization was created to counteract the “Moral Majority” organization founded by Jerry Falwell Sr. in 1979.
Robin Williams in 1982
At the time of this event, a 31-year-old Robin Williams’ hit sitcom comedy, Mork and Mindy, was airing its fourth and final season. His first HBO comedy special “Off the Wall” had aired in 1978, and his next “An Evening with Robin Williams” would be released the following year.
Williams’s performance on the television special has stood the test of time and is widely viewed as one of his classic routines.
“I was born July 14, 1777, that makes me a Gemini,” Williams quipped during the performance.
“I’ve been in a lot of wars,” the flag continued. “They’ve fired missiles and muskets at me but you know come the dawn’s early light, I’m still there.”
The flag then gave an impassioned plea to the audience to close out the performance.
“Don’t look at is as saluting me, look at it as saluting yourselves. I’m just a flag, a symbol. You’re the people, if I may say so from here. Long may you wave.”
You can view Robin Williams’ performance as the American flag in the video below.
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