Robin Williams used the perfect gag to stop Oprah from outing Nathan Lane during live interview
“I’m not prepared to discuss that I’m gay on national television. I’m not ready.”
Robin Williams was a gem of a person. The comedian knew how to keep people laughing, but as the years go on after his untimely death, we hear more stories about what a good friend he was. Recently, Williams' kind nature was the topic of conversation between Willie Geist and "Murders in the Building" star Nathan Lane on "Sunday Today".
Lane sat down for an interview to discuss his new play, and during the conversation, he reminisced about his first big role in the 1996 movie, "The Birdcage." In the movie, he played a gay man that was married to Williams' character and the pair were trying to marry off their straight son to a nice woman who had conservative parents. For Lane, the movie mirrored part of his personal life as he was actually a gay man and not just playing a part for the screen.
But this was the 90s, when being gay wasn't as openly discussed or accepted as it is today, so it's understandable why Lane wasn't prepared for a public announcement.
Lane explained that when he and Williams were about to be interviewed by Oprah, he was nervous she would ask him about his sexuality, unintentionally forcing him to out himself.
"I said to Robin beforehand, 'I'm not prepared. I'm so scared of going out there and talking to Oprah. I'm not prepared to discuss that I'm gay on national television. I'm not ready,'" Lane told "Sunday Today". "He said, 'Oh, it's alright, don't worry about it. If you don't want to talk about it, we won't talk about it,'" the actor recalled.
Then came the moment of truth. Oprah started to poke at the question in a joking, roundabout way and that was Robin's cue to swoop in. With Lane now providing more context, you can see Williams distract the host with his typical wit and humor in the clip of the Oprah interview below.