Jamie Costa’s searing Robin Williams impression is currently one of the top videos on YouTube, and it’s easy to see why. In a scene written by Costa, his producing partner Jake Lewis, and Sam Lewis, “ROBIN Test Footage Scene” makes a startling case for a full-on biopic.
The scene takes place backstage of Mork And Mindy. Williams (Jamie Costa) prepares for the shoot after a late-night partying with John Belushi, when his co-star Pam Dawber (Sarah Murphee) enters and informs him that Belushi died the night before.
Costa’s performance, though, is quite affecting. With the ability to move at the speed of Williams, Costa rattles through his joke-a-second routine before settling into the reassuring and comforting actor we know from Mrs. Doubtfire and Good Will Hunting. He makes a startling case for a whole movie starring him.
Nevertheless, there’s something a little strange watching Costa’s impression of the beloved late comedian. Williams died in 2014, and it feels, perhaps, a bit too early to be turning his life into a biopic. Or maybe it’s just strange seeing such a close approximation to the actor in one of his saddest, darkest moments that make watching the clip so heart-wrenching.
It is very telling and a bit manipulative to use this scene for what is ostensibly an audition tape. There is no doubt that Costa is a fantastic impressionist and actor. He wants to show his range, so it makes sense to choose a weightier moment in Williams’ life. It’s certainly a choice to make the scene about Williams learning of his friend’s death, and it’s okay to feel a little bit icky about the whole thing.
As mentioned, the video is causing a stir among fans because it’s a fantastic impression. But the internet tends not to understand just how painful these kinds of videos are to people. Case in point, Robin Williams’ daughter Zelda said on Twitter that people were “spamming” her with the video.
Guys, I’m only saying this because I don’t think it’ll stop until I acknowledge it… please, stop sending me the ‘test footage’. I’ve seen it. Jamie is SUPER talented, this isn’t against him, but y’all spamming me an impression of my late Dad on one of his saddest days is weird.
It’s anyone’s guess why people think that she would get a kick out of something like this, but the “internet isn’t real” philosophy is a strange beast, one that sheds our brains of empathy even when we’re trying to be nice.
Enjoy the video, but don’t be surprised if others don’t.