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That Time in 1989 When Jim Varney Met Robin Williams

That Time When Jim Varney Met Robin Williams at the Comic Relief 3 stand-up comedy special in 1989.

Two iconic comedians of the '80s (and beyond) have been on my mind lately and I recently discovered some footage of them together which I had never seen before.

Earlier this week, Wyatt and I on the Memory Jogger podcast pulled the random topic of actor Robin Williams. His work really connected with us over the years beginning with his sitcom Mork and Mindy and films like Popeye, Good Morning, Vietnam, and Cadillac Man. Throughout the '90s and even '00s, Williams continued to make us laugh and one movie in particular, Patch Adams, Wyatt mentioned during the podcast helped him to overcome a bad relationship.

The other comedian that has been on my mind lately is Jim Varney who played the lovable Ernest P. Worrell in several movies and his own television series. Wyatt and I have covered Ernest quite a bit on the Rediscover the '80s podcast including a recent mystery episode of Memory Jogger that featured our memories of Jim Varney's career. We also reviewed Hey Vern, It's Ernest for an episode of Rediscovered in which we went in depth on several episodes of the Saturday morning TV show. And just released today, I hosted an episode of The Retro Network Drive-In with Wyatt and friend Adam which screened Ernest Goes to Camp. It had a been a few years since I watched it and it was great to really go in-depth on the movie's history, cast, and our favorite scenes.

While I was researching Ernest Goes To Camp, I happened onto a YouTube video that I had never seen before. It was Jim Varney (dressed as Ernest P. Worrell) back stage with Robin Williams. The two are just riffing off each other and it was great to see hoe well they interacted together. Come to find out, Varney was a guest on Comic Relief 3, a benefit event hosted by Williams, Billy Crystal, and Whoopi Goldberg. The two are back stage at the event giving the camera a little behind-the-scenes footage most likely for the events release on home video.

First, watch the risqué skit that Varney appeared during special which is hilarious in its own right.


Now, watch the behind the scene footage from the special. Warning: Williams uses some adult language.


They seemed to have great chemistry together. It's tragic that these two comedic peers never got to share some scenes together in film or television. However, I'm truly grateful that these few minutes of back stage footage exist and give us a peek into what might have been.

Click the links above to listen to our recent podcasts or click play right here to listen to the Ernest Goes to Camp review:

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