Bill Murray is more than a comedy legend, he’s become something of a mythological figure among fans, with an ever-growing series of tales involving him showing up out of nowhere to interact with unsuspecting strangers in humorous ways.
But on Friday, Murray showed up in plain sight when Reddit announced he was taking part in its popular “Ask Me Anything” series.
And over the course of the chat, Murray touched on some interesting topics, including what he thinks of the new “Saturday Night Live” cast, how he tricked himself into doing a critically slammed movie and whether he thinks marijuana should be legal.
Technically, Murray was doing the chat to promote his forthcoming film, “Monuments Men,” but the majority of questions, and his answers, spanned across more than four decades of work in TV, film and the quintessential daily task of being Bill Murray.
On whether marijuana should be legalized
“Well that's a large question, isn't it? Because you're talking about recreation, which everyone is in favor of. You are also talking about something that has been illegal for so many years, and marijuana is responsible for such a large part of the prison population, for the crime of self-medication. And it takes millions and billions of dollars by incarcerating people for this crime against oneself as best can be determined. People are realizing that the war on drugs is a failure, that the amount of money spent, you could have bought all the drugs with that much money rather than create this army of people and incarcerated people. I think the terror of marijuana was probably overstated.”
On his surprising ranking of the recent “Saturday Night Live” cast
“[I] really feel like the previous cast, that was the best group since the original group. They were my favorite group. Some really talented people that were all comedians of some kind or another. You think about Dana Carvey, Will, Hartman, all these wonderful funny guys. But the last group with Kristen Wiig and those characters, they were a bunch of actors and their stuff was just different.”
“You know? I forget.”
On the real life setting of “Groundhog Day”
“If you ever get to go to Punxsutawney, you should go, it is one of the few things that is BETTER than advertised.”
On who he’d most like to meet if he could travel back through time
“I would like to know about [Gregor] Mendel, because i remember going to the Philippines and thinking ‘this is like Mendel's garden’ because it had been invaded by so many different countries over the years, and you could see the children shared the genetic traits of all their invaders over the years, and it made for this beautiful varietal garden.”
On the movie he had the most fun filming
“Well, I did a film with Jim Jarmusch called 'Broken Flowers,' but I really enjoyed that movie. I enjoyed the script that he wrote. He asked me if I could do a movie, and I said ‘I gotta stay home, but if you make a movie that i could shoot within one hour of my house, I'll do it.’ So he found those locations. And I did the movie.”
On how he thought he was signing up for a Coen Brothers movie when he agreed to be in “Garfield”
“ I had a hilarious experience with 'Garfield.' I only read a few pages of it, and I kind of wanted to do a cartoon movie because I had looked at the screenplay and it said ‘Joel Cohen’ on it. And I wasn't thinking clearly, but it was spelled Cohen, not Coen. I love the Coen brothers movies. I think that Joel Coen is a wonderful comedic mind.”
On being “so awesome”
“Nothing prepared me for being this awesome. It's kind of a shock. It's kind of a shock to wake up every morning and be bathed in this purple light.”
You can read the full chat, including more answers from Murray and all of his fans’ questions, here.