Bill Murray has another song about him. How many comedians have multiple songs named for them, anyhow? I suppose I could look into that.
But first, here's the most recent "Bill Murray" track to get recorded, and Terrible People have done it. Terrible People, of course, is a rock band from Phoenix, Ariz. And they made a music video for their ode to Murray, casting comedian Jim Tavare in the lead role as a zombie (referencing Zombieland) as the band sings lyrics referencing several of Murray's other cinematic roles.
Roll the clip!
Of course, you may recall that Gorillaz had a track called "Bill Murray" on their album, D-Sides. But they're not the only ones to put their love of the comedic actor on record.
It's Feb. 2, which means it's Groundhog Day. Which means it's time to remember the instant classic comedy 1993 film, Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray.
This scene, in particular, now in 2011 becomes a perfect TV ad for Microsoft's search engine: Bing! Why hadn't they thought of this before? Roll the clip.
But let us not forget the man behind Ned Ryerson: Stephen Tobolowsky. Tobolowsky, 59, already had a decade of character actor work under his belt by the time he appeared in Groundhog Day, including Thelma & Louise, Basic Instinct, Single White Female and the pivotal role of Dr. Werner Brandes in Sneakers. More recently, he has held down TV parts in Heroes, Glee and the current season of Californication. You can hear Tobolowsky talk about his lengthy career with plenty of behind-the-scenes anecdotes in his podcast with /film called The Tobolowsky Files.
Of course, the most relevant podcast episode is Ep. 29, "The Classic," in which Tobolowsky talks about being Ned Ryerson and working with Bill Murray, Harold Ramis and others on Groundhog Day. Listen as he talks about scenes in the original script, as well as scenes that got filmed but then cut, that made the movie truly great.
And if you'd like to see all of the "Ned Ryerson" scenes in one clip, roll it!
You've seen the picture, now see the video. Last night on Spike's Scream 2010 awards show, Bill Murray decided to show up in his Ghostbusters uniform to accept an award from a smiling Sarah Silverman. Murray won "best cameo" for his brief turn in Zombieland.
The possibility of Murray and the ghost-busting gang getting back together in any sort of capacity for a Ghostbusters 3 remains long-rumored and in any potential phase of development with old and/or new cast members, depending upon whom you talk to, when and what mood they're in when the reporter talked to them. But for now, this is enough.
As an extra bonus, as if watching the look on Silverman's face isn't enough, Murray devoted much of his speech to paying tribute to his comedian friends and comic actors who have died. Roll it!
Bill Murray. So great. So funny. Still funny. Before diving into a dumpster pool parked outside Late Show with David Letterman yesterday, Murray exclaimed: "You can't wade in, baby! You can't wade in!" Then added: "Louuuuu Piniella!" as he dove into the murky water, and cut himself on the side of the head. Roll the clip!
Conveniently, this week GQ Magazine featured a sit-down interview with Murray in its annual "Comedy Issue," and here is what he had to tell them about finding comedy gold in them thar screenplays, and in life in general:
But you asked how you get the comic pitch. Well, obviously a lot of it is rhythm. And as often as not, it's the surprising rhythm. In life and in movies, you can usually guess what someone is going to say—you can actually hear it—before they say it. But if you undercut that just a little, it can make you fall off your chair. It's small and simple like that. You're always trying to get your distractions out of the way and be as calm as you can be [breathes in and out slowly], and emotion will just drive the machine. It will go through the machine without being interrupted, and it comes out in a rhythm that's naturally funny. And that funny rhythm is either humorous or touching. It can be either one. But it's always a surprise. I really don't know what's going to come out of my mouth.
And why he has remained a Chicago guy living in New York City, and not Los Angeles:
No, no, no. Never. It just never took. It's like the first day you check into a hotel in L.A. there's a message under your door. The second day, there's eleven messages under your door. The third day, there's thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, seventy messages. And I realized that they just want fresh blood. They. Just. Want. Fresh. Blood. You gotta get the hell out of there. And you really feel, if you live in New York, that you're three hours ahead of them—I mean that literally. It's like, Oh man, we gotta help these people! And the longer you stay there, the less ahead of them you get, and then you're one of them. No way, man. Not for me.
In case you missed it, this was the week we got a couple of insightful peeks into the mind and world of comedian Bill Murray.
First came this interview with The Daily Mail on Sunday, in which Murray talked about how great he believes Groundhog Day was and is as a movie and screenplay, as well as the "big" news that he would be part of Ghostbusters 3 on one very "big" condition.
Then came this surprising appearance by Bill Murray on Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations. It's a deliciously fun show on the Travel Channel (which really is loading up on the food-based shows, isn't it? I'm not complaining, but watch your back, Food Network!). What made his appearance surprising, perhaps, was where we saw Murray, eating at his buddy's restaurant on the Hudson River. In Yonkers. Yonkers! Tony also delighted in recounting their drive back into Manhattan that night, in which Murray grabbed the wheel and proved himself to be a funny driver, too. Here's a clip from Tony's meal with Bill:
And of course, you'll get to see a bit of Bill Murray doing what he loves almost as much as comedy, as this weekend he's playing once again in the PGA's Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on CBS. Check your local listings!
And here it is, Bill Murray's "Cinderella story" scene from Caddyshack.
A fresh presidential debate and the first Weekend Update to get two commercial breaks easily filled Saturday Night Live's first live primetime edition of Weekend Update Thursday. They did not allow any photomographical operations inside the studio, and I resisted all temptations, so the best you get is this evidence to prove what shall follow.
Things you didn't see:
Want to know how soon before broadcast they're talking about what will make it to air? The final meeting in Lorne Michaels' office broke up at 9:05 p.m., 25 minutes before the show went live, and after most of the audience had been seated.
Jason Sudeikis is great at loosening the pre-show tension and warming up the audience. "Welcome to Thursday Night Live, I guess?!" he opened, assuring us of some "nice surprises" before letting folks know that the debate sketch would open the show, and apologizing to the folks in the "left-field" balcony seats for having the worst view of said sketch.
We sat in "right-field" right above the presidential debate sketch, which meant we knew before the rest of the crowd and the viewers that Bill Murray would make a special appearance. Spoiler alert! Murray, already in NYC for a scheduled appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman, only had a few blocks to travel after that taping to get to 30 Rock for SNL's TNL.
But first, before the show, Kristen Wiig sang Blondie's "One Way or Another" with Fred Armisen on guitar and the SNL band backing, and in case you're curious, some early work for the cue card guys. Just taking precautions?
Bill Murray and the rest of the cast took their places in the last two minutes before airtime, and Murray had fun with the two extras seated next to him by pretending to panic about being on live TV as a guy from the side counted down the final minute in five-second intervals.
Speaking of Murray, the cameras missed another chance to catch his reaction shots to Darrell Hammond's John McCain and Fred Armisen's Barack Obama, as he had the aforementioned extras hold him back as he pretended to lunge at the candidates for failing to back his beloved Chicago Cubs. You hear the audience laughing as the camera zooms in instead on Chris Parnell, who admirably played moderator Tom Brokaw.
Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers played off the debate sketch and its timing joke right before the start of Weekend Update, as Poehler suggested she'd tell the live audience a great story, and then...
Later, while Hall and Oates sang, Poehler bopped and danced from her chair throughout the entire song. So did we. Good stuff.
One unused set still sat off to the side, suggesting an old-timey study with leather chairs. Wonder who that was meant for, and whether we'll see it next Thursday, perhaps? The dress rehearsal audience knows part of that answer.
What you and I saw:
This live half-hour (22 minutes of airtime) edition of SNL opened with Tuesday night's presidential town-hall debate offering so many jokes itself, yet the show managed to poke fun at two of the most obvious moments -- McCain referring to Obama as "that one" turned into a recurring series of jocular references, as well as McCain wandering in front of the camera -- while zeroing in on another odd moment (time-limit answers) and ramping up the comedy around that. Textbook sketch comedy writing, as the premise accelerated into hilarity as two cast members read questions simultaneously, followed by Hammond and Armisen answering simulatenously (which was quite remarkable, considering their lines also read side-by-side on cue cards).
In Weekend Update, Poehler and Meyers seemed to hold their post-punchline poses longer than usual, to great effect in eliciting additional laughs. Kenan Thompson's financial expert, Oscar Rogers, also followed a textbook rule of comedy, which states that when you find a catchphrase that gets laughs, you keep returning to it, and returning to it. "Fix it!"
The other highlight of Weekend Update saw Will Forte rewarded from last weekend's effective song about the bailout vote with a bigger singing platform this time around, playing Hall to Armisen's Oates for a duet in which they differ on their presidential preferences. Having Armisen's Oates support McCain made sense for multiple reasons, not just because it allows him to play both sides, but also because Oates often was seen as second fiddle to Hall.
But heck, you can watch the entire episode online, right here! Well, after the jump...
Sarah Palin is on my TV right now pretending to know something about foreign policy and defending her decision not to have a passport, which means we need to put up a new silly video. Banzai! How long do you think Mr. Shake Hands Man can shake hands with a man named Bill Murray? I'm guessing a long time...
The other big comedy news in Chicago over the weekend came courtesy of Bill Murray, who jumped out of a plane with the Army to kick off the Chicago Air & Water Show. The Sun-Times and Tribune each filed reports; the Tribune's CLTV also includes unedited videos from Army cameras of the entire skydive. He told one reporter this was the first time he'd worked directly with the Army since Stripes. He says the only thing that would make this jump better would be if he could land in Wrigley Field during the final game of the World Series. Who knows...maybe this October? And here is the AP's condensed report:
Today on Funny Or Die, NYC comedy duo Pete & Brian unveiled their latest short film, FCU: Fact Checkers Unit with Bill Murray. Let's play the clip, then talk with Pete and Brian about it.
Directed by Dan Beers. Written by Dan Beers, Peter Karinen and Brian Sacca
OK, boys. Explain yourselves.
Pete: "The three of us wanted to work together in some capacity so we decided to make a short together. Brian had the idea to make a CSI spoof...I think it was Brian's idea originally to do something about fact-checkers."
How did they rope Murray into it? Dan Beers had worked on "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou" with him. "We faxed Bill a question asking if he wanted to be in it," Beers said. Apparently, that's how you get in touch with Bill Murray. As he added, "Bill doesn't have an agent or a manager or a publicist, which makes it difficult to get a hold of him." Wow.
Of all the comedy video sites out there, why Funny Or Die?
Pete said they've hosted Pete & Brian shorts in the past.
Brian: "One of the great things about Funny Or Die, because it's a selective site, the content is...good quality. The stuff there is generally pretty funny. And we respect what they post."
Bill Murray wasn't originally part of the concept, though.
Brian: "It was literally while we were writing it...Dan said wouldn't it be funny if we got bill murray in this..."
Pete: "Brian and I started nodding our heads vigorously...No, he was not part of the original concept at all."
Brian: "It was about Pete and I being fact checkers. Fact checkers taking their jobs way too seriously."
At nine minutes, it's awful long for an online comedy video. But they said it's more of a short film -- or even a pilot. Pete said the idea is to break out the FCU guys as a series, "whether that's a Web series or a TV series. We're also looking into developing it for commercial uses."
But no film festivals or comedy festivals, Pete said. "I don't think the short exactly has Sundance written all over it. And Brian and I had a different short that went to festivals already...from what I gather, the business has really changed a lot. When studios are going to film festivals, they're not going to the shorts programs and they're not making deals off of shorts...It is an experiment to deal with viewers' attention spans...We’re not calling this a viral video. We’re calling this a short film that we’re debuting online. We think the production value is a lot better than a lot of these videos...We didn't just pick up a camera and make funny faces."
Related: As far as I can tell, here are the lyrics to Bill Murray’s Chopsticks song..."Chopsticks I used when I got 'em at the takeout store when I went out for chop suey, They were chopsticks I used, they’re the chopsticks I chose to choose all my chopsuey, Chinese style! Chopsticks....that I chose to chew at the..."