After the first cancellation in the event’s nearly 10-year history due to the passing of local legend Robin Williams, a group of comics join host Mark Pitta in front of a packed house.

Only the passing of one of its biggest supporters could halt the institution that is Mark Pitta & Friends Tuesday Night Comedy – and just for one week.

Eight days after the tragic passing of local legend Robin Williams, Tuesday Night Comedy returned to the Throckmorton Theatre this week. Although the night was not a tribute or memorial for Williams – the Throckmorton plans to host one next month – Williams, in all his comic brilliance, was the inescapable presence in the room, according to Julian Kaelon, the Throckmorton’s marketing director.

“There was a very fine line last night with how we wanted to do it,” Kaelon says. “We’ve never missed a day before with this event (since it started in November 2004), so we wanted to bring laughter back to people. It was about, ‘Let’s get started again – that’s what Robin would have wanted.’”

The event, which sold out nearly a week ago, began with host Pitta being joined onstage by eight comics: Dan St. Paul, Larry “Bubbles” Brown, Steven Pearl, Marc Hershon, Del Van Dyke, Johnny Steele, Lisa Gedulig and Michael Meehan.

Each comic knew Williams to varying degrees, and each took about five minutes to share a story or two of a humorous interaction with him over the years, Kaelon said.

“It was a very nice mix of salutes to Robin and reminiscing about how great he was and also bringing laughs to the room,” Kaelon says. “They kept it light – by telling true stories about the hilarious flavor Robin brought to their interactions.”

Local musician Eoin Harrington then performed a cover of “Over the Rainbow” prior to intermission, which was followed by a return to the standard Tuesday Comedy Night format of two comedians doing regular sets – this time Brad Williams and Jimmie “JJ” Walker of “Good Times” fame. Both of them had been booked before Williams passed away.

“They were fantastic – they had crowd laughing in the aisles,” Kaelon says.

“Overall, there was a heavy cloud hanging over the evening but it seemed like everyone was there to have a good time and laugh – that’s what we wanted it to be a heartfelt return to Tuesday Night Comedy.”

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