Robin Williams_Nov2011
Actor Robin Williams at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Los Angeles Britannia Awards in Beverly Hills, California, on Nov. 30, 2011. Reuters/Fred Prouser

It's a question “Inside the Actors Studio” host James Lipton often asks entertainers, but the answer Robin Williams gave nearly 13 years ago has struck a chord with his fans after his tragic death. During Williams’ 2001 appearance on the show, Lipton proposed, “If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?" Williams couldn’t help but respond with some quick jokes.

"There's seating at the front," was his immediate answer. "The concert begins at five. It'll be Mozart, Elvis and one of your choosing."

But then, after brief thought, he gave a sincere answer. "Or it would just be nice to know if heaven exists, to know that there's laughter, that would be a great thing." He paused briefly and then gave the punch line: "Just to hear God go, 'Two Jews walk into a bar.…'"

The actor’s stint on the show was the first-ever two-hour episode of "Inside the Actors Studio" because Williams performed and spoke to the audience for five hours. The footage he generated for was so entertaining that the producers couldn’t edit his appearance to shorter than two hours, according to the DVD extras. On the DVD commentary, Lipton confirmed an audience member was taken away in an ambulance after the show, after developing a hernia for laughing so hard.

The man who helped bring so much laughter into the world brought tears this week when it was revealed he committed suicide in his home on Monday. He was 63. The “Good Will Hunting” star had been struggling with depression, and had recently gone to rehab to maintain his sobriety.

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