Calling Robin Williams "the brightest star in a comedy galaxy," Billy Crystal delivered a simple, yet superb tribute to his longtime friend Monday night during the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards.
"He made us laugh. Hard," Crystal said while standing on a darkened stage, below a projected image of Williams. "He made us laugh big time ..."
During the tribute, which came at the end of the traditional In Memoriam segment, Crystal made his first public comments about Williams since the actor-comedian was found dead in his Tiburon home on Aug. 11.
Crystal, his voice quivering at times, recalled Williams' comic brilliance and boundless energy. "I used to think that if I could just put a saddle on him and stay on for eight seconds, I was going to be OK," he said.
Mostly, though, he remembered Williams as a close confidant.
"He was the greatest friend you could ever imagine," Crystal said. "Supportive. Protective. Loving. It's very hard to talk about him in the past because he was so present in all of our lives."
As for that reference to being the greatest "star," Crystal insisted that Williams' light will never fade.
"... The glow will be so bright," he said. "It will warm your heart. It will make your eyes glisten. And you'll think to yourselves: Robin Williams. What a concept."