| Actor Robin Williams with US army personnel Crystal Heard (centre) and Kizzy Armstrong at Bagram air base near Kabul. (Reuters)
Hyperactive Hollywood comedian Robin Williams treated US troops to uncensored helpings of his zany humour during a tour of bases in Afghanistan that ended today.
Within minutes of landing at the dust-plagued Bagram air base north of Kabul, Williams served up a raunchy, rapid-fire routine with something to offend just about everyone.
He compared Afghan women in burqas to beekeepers, took digs at US media billionaire Ted Turner and his former wife Jane Fonda, and also risked the wrath of chat show queen Oprah Winfrey and military caterers.
Unfettered by domestic prudery, Williams dished out plenty of expletives and sexual innuendo, but inverting the norms of US television, his Hollywood publicists were insistent media cameras should show no guns in the same frame as the star.
Williams made sure that most of his routine was more suitable for the barrackroom than family television viewing. But from the moment he introduced himself with an earsplitting “Goooodmoorning Bagraaaaam!”, recalling his role as a military radio presenter in the movie“Goodmorning Vietnam”, he was a huge hit with the hundreds of male and female troops in the audience.
He had the troops in stitches with a pun on the supposed intestinal effects of “Meals Ready to Eat”, as well as references to the ban on alcohol at US bases in Afghanistan and sexual frustrations in the strict Muslim state.
Williams laughed off the dangers of Afghanistan, joking that it was impossible to complete a round of golf because the 10th hole was mined. “A lovely flight in thank you,” he said. “I love spiralling in. Nothing like that to make your colon say fire in the hole!”
Then pointing up to a yawning gap in the hanger caused by a rocket or bomb, he added: “I love the lovely Afghani renovation in the wall. Whoa baby whoaah, too late now!”
Captain Beverly Grandison, a signals officer with the battalion from the 82nd Airborne Division based at Bagram, said the soldiers were delighted Williams had taken time to share some of their hardships.