Bill Murray is funnier than you. He’s cooler than you. And he has more friends than you. But you love him.
Back before Bill Murray was working at Saturday Night Live, Chevy Chase would open the “Weekend Update” segment by declaring, “I’m Chevy Chase, and you’re not.” Chevy may have had the line, but Bill Murray has had the life.
Bill Murray is like Elton John. Elton John has had number one hits in five different decades. Bill Murray has been the goof epitome of cool in five decades. Kind of like Red Skelton doing an impersonation of Steve McQueen.
Bill Murray walks around in this world imposing himself on the lives of everyday people. He crashes engagement photo shoots. He shows up at birthday parties and bachelor parties. He joins total strangers for karaoke.
Bill Murray “sightings” are a running gag on the Interwebs. He is his own street team, keeping his name and face in the public eye just by being himself.
Murray’s most recent film, St. Vincent, is about a man who has suffered a stroke. Murray is playing the lead in this one, something he has not done in a long time.
He recently said in an interview that having to play a recovering stroke victim, “Scared me.” He had to do slurred speech and other impairments.
“I hate that not-having-your-faculties acting,” he said of the part. “That’s like acting school. I don’t want to go to acting school, ever. That was like doing ordinals or cleaning paint with a small razor blade. It’s the worst kind work. Deep cleaning.”
But that’s about all the “complaining” you’ll get out of Murray. He catches the bright side quickly.
“And, yet, I didn’t have a stroke,” he realizes. “Life could be worse. I’m not complaining. I could be the guy with the stroke.”
Playing such a tough role without resorting to sentimentality was a must for Murray.
“Sentimentality to me is a symbol that we’ve left the planet. OK, bye-bye. Let me know when you come back because you’re no longer here. You just left. It reminds of being at a funeral.”
Nor is he interested in chasing an Academy Award nomination, although it is an almost-certainty to come up.
“That running after prizes stuff, I was involved in that once before,” he says. “It’s like a low-grade virus. It’s an infection when you really campaign for it. But it’s fun to win the prize because you get the chance to get up on stage and be funny.”
Here is the trailer for St. Vincent.