Robin Williams zinged the Hollywood Foreign Press Association while accepting a career achievement award Sunday from the group known for throwing one of Hollywood’s booziest bashes.
It’s not as if the group could have expected anything less from the manic comic that director Mike Nichols described as “surely not of this Earth.”
In serious parlance, Williams received the Cecil B. DeMille Award for his “outstanding contribution to the entertainment field.” It was as grown-up as he got all night.
Williams recalled attending his first HFPA news conference and wondering who the people at the buffet were.
“Those are the Hollywood Foreign Press,” he said as the Globes audience howled.
“At that time, a long time ago, they all had day jobs. I guess things have changed. I’d like to thank also the Hollywood Foreign Press for having an open bar. This makes this evening go kind of well.”
Williams riffed on the famous faces in the ballroom, saying, “I’d also want to thank you for having Prince, William Shatner, Puff Daddy and Mick Jagger on the same stage. That is the sign of the apocalypse.”
He mocked the Hollywood Foreign Press for its “lovely Star Trek musical set” as the camera cut away to the glitzy ceiling of the Beverly Hilton ballroom.
Williams singled out a HFPA member he called Dora, who despite the quality of whatever movie he was promoting, would always ask him, “How are da kids?” Then he introduced his two sons and one daughter.
Clutching the Globe trophy, Williams thanked the group for “the little nippily thing on top.”
Williams sat pensively through clips of his career, including his breakthrough role on the ABC sitcom “Mork and Mindy” and movies like “Popeye,” “Good Morning, Vietnam,” “The Birdcage,” “Mrs. Doubtfire” and “Good Will Hunting.”
“I was just going, ‘That’s enough of “Popeye.” Thank you,”’ he said backstage. “That was very humbling. ‘Popeye’ is a wonderful movie if you run it backwards.”
Asked later how he could rib the group who gave him its award, Williams said, “I know I’ll see them again. I’ve known them for 27 years. It’s like my extended weird family. It’s nice that they acknowledge comedy.”
Williams only turned serious when he dedicated the award to his late friend Christopher Reeve, who died in September at age 52 of complications from a bedsore after spending nine years as a quadriplegic.
“I think he’s still here,” he said. “He was such a presence. He’s family. It was great knowing him.”
Williams, 53, joked that he picked up the night’s only award without any suspense.
“It’s nice to get it when you can actually remember what you’ve done,” he said. “It’s great to have it and know you’re getting it.”