Moving, emotional and deeply personal, Billy Crystal's tribute to Robin Williams turned a lighthearted broadcast into a somber tribute to a beloved actor who changed culture, and television.

"He made us laugh, every time you saw him on TV, movies, nightclubs, arenas, hospitals, homeless shelters," Crystal said of a friend he made nearly 40 years ago, working comedy clubs on both coasts.

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He spoke of the "many happy hours" spent with Williams -- in particular at a Mets game where Williams professed ignorance of baseball but segued into a comic role, as a "great Russian baseball player."

Crystal said Williams explained, "We have only one team in Russia -- the Reds . . .

"He was the greatest friend you could ever imagine. Supportive, protective, loving. It's very hard to talk about him in the past because he was so present in all of our lives, for almost 40 years the brightest star in the comedy galaxy."