“I’ve always felt really proud about”: Dead Poets Society Star Josh Charles Did One Thing to Robin Williams That Most Stars Would Only Dream of

Josh Charles made Robin Williams laugh in the simplest way possible.

Josh Charles and Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society


  • Josh Charles grew up indulging in stand up comedy, especially that of Richard Pryor.
  • He used to imitate those jokes, trying them out on Robin Williams.
  • This trying and testing brought about many laughs from the legendary actor.
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Some of the greatest comedic actors in Hollywood are known best for their un-shying and generous humor with Robin Williams standing on a pedestal above them all. No matter who the actor encountered, they were all left in an uplifted mood because of his ability to make anyone in the room laugh. No matter how serious the mood, Williams always had a way to bring back the smiles on people’s faces.

Josh Charles in The Veil (2023) | Image via FX
Josh Charles in The Veil (2023) | Image via FX

Although comedians are more used to making people laugh, there are rare instances when they too find themselves in a fit of laughter because of one reason or another. Making Williams laugh would be another feat of its own, one that many could have only dreamt of achieving. However, Dead Poets Society star Josh Charles found a way.

Josh Charles Practiced Stand Up Comedy

During an interview on the Rich Eisen Show, Josh Charles opened up about his experience when working on Dead Poets Society. He talked about how the movie found its footing after being lost, and almost being scrapped as well. The critically acclaimed masterpiece is regarded as one of the best and for good reason. However, the fact that they weren’t able to find a director for almost a year was frightening.

Dead Poets Society inspire
Dead Poets Society | Credit: Touchstone Pictures /Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

“When I was my son’s age, I got really into stand up comedy. Even though I did it as a kid like on Open Mic nights.”

With his time on the set, Charles got an opportunity to gel well with Robin Williams. When reiterating his time with the late actor, he added that growing up, The Good Wife actor found himself visiting Open Mic Nights in Baltimore and indulging in stand-up comedy.

He used to take his dad’s help and create sets for himself to perform comedy he had picked up along the way. His father’s copywriters helped him create the jokes he then went on to perform. However, it was because of this that he gained another skill.

Josh Charles Found the Key to Make Robin Williams Laugh

Josh Charles found the perfect way to interact with Robin Williams, so much so that he was one of the rare few people who was able to make the legendary comedian laugh again and again. During his days diving into stand-up comedy, Charles became a big fan of Richard Pryor. As a way of improving his own skills, he started mimicking the comedian’s sketches.

Robin Williams In Dead Poets Society (1989)
Robin Williams In Dead Poets Society | Credit: Touchstone Pictures /Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

“I was obsessed with Richard Pryor and so that’s all I would do. I would listen to Richard Pryor and I would just imitate Richard Pryor. So I would do that for Robin sometimes and that would make him laugh and that was fun. That was like one of our little things that I’ve always felt really proud about. That I could make him laugh when I just throw some Pryor out.”

He would listen to the comedian all day long and then take the jokes he learned onto the set, specifically to Robin Williams. He tried and tested Richard Pryor’s jokes on the actors, those that inevitably made him burst into laughter.

The entire routine became a thing for the two of them and Charles was extremely proud of the same. He found the perfect way to make the actor laugh and cherished it forevermore.

Dead Poets Society can be rented on Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV.

Adya Godboley

Written by Adya Godboley

Articles Published: 1485

An avid writer fluent in everything Marvel, Adya Godboley went from being a Senior Writer to an Assistant Anime Content Lead for FandomWire. She has rich experience in critically analyzing all that is said in between the lines. Hopelessly obsessed with Greek Mythology, she is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in English. Adya has written over 1400 articles on various topics expressing her passion and love for all things entertainment, from superheroes to anime and the occasional gacha games.