"People in Marin paid more than good money to be here," Robin Williams once joked in a standup routine delivered to a local Bay Area audience. "They paid beyond money." Later in the bit he jests that Marin County didn't mind a shark off their shores, so long as it was white.
More from the bit in a moment. But, speaking of Williams and Marin, an update on CBS5 reports that legislation to name the rainbow painted tunnel, unofficially called the "Waldo Tunnel," after the late comedian. It's unanimously passed the state Assembly.
You might recall that the legislation was introduced in December by Democratic State Assemblyman Marc Levine of San Rafael and inspired by a Change.org petition from Julie Wainwright. It still has to pass through the Senate’s Transportation Committee, but clearly it's got a tremendous amount of good will on its side and would be a fond remembrance for Williams, who took his own life last August.
Back to Williams' act: Interestingly, he mentions the tunnel in it, and not in the most flattering light.
"People going into Marin County say 'my god, look at that little rainbow! Isn't that cute?' No, they lied to you. It's an ethnic detector. * BEEP BEEP BEEP* 'We have two negroes headed south.'"
The Williams routine, which you can catch more of here, has plenty of great Marin quips, such as "those people are so damn wealthy they don't get crabs, the get lobsters."
In fact, the rainbow was the work of a longtime CalTrans employee named Robert Halligan who decided in 1970 with a colleague who was preparing for retirement to paint the southern portals of the tunnel with rainbows. They did so without getting the approval of their Sacramento superiors.