Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich botched a joke at a congressional hearing Thursday, telling Attorney General Eric Holder "You must feel like Tom Hanks in Groundhog Day." It was a grave offense to Bill Murray acolytes and IMDb nitpickers, but Kucinich quickly rectified the situation: "I want to correct the record . . . it was Bill Murray, not Tom Hanks," he said at the hearing. How did Kucinich confuse the lead role in the famously underrated (though perhaps now over-rated) '90s comedy? We have two theories.
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First, Kucinich may feel the two actors actually look alike. To us, Bill Murray and Tom Hanks look very dissimilar. But apparently the meme masters over at the Cheezburger Network find a striking resemblance:
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And the meme isn't an errant fluke, as the comment board of "Tom Hanks and Bill Murray; I sure as hell can't tell them apart" Facebook group reveals. The threads read like a kind of support group. "I thought I was the only one and everyone thought I was crazy," wrote Stephen Pardue. "Thanks everyone for showing me the light."
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Another user wrote,"I totally though[t] the young Bill Murray was Tom Hanks! They must be related." The user adds "I was sure Tom Hanks was in Ghostbusters." The comments go on. Perhaps Kucinich would find solace in the group?
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Our second theory: Kucinich may have a kind of hyper-comprehensive encyclopedic knowledge of Hollywood trivia that occasionally escapes his subconscious and disrupts his daily behavior. That's because the first choice to play Murray's character in Groundhog Day was actually... Tom Hanks. The casting decision was revealed by Groundhog Day director Harold Ramis in 2009 at a Q&A in Chicago. In hindsight, Hanks reportedly told Ramis it was a good thing he declined the movie. “Audiences would have been sitting there waiting for me to become nice, because I always play nice. But Bill’s such a miserable S.O.B. on and off screen, you didn’t know what was going to happen.” So, does Kucinich have too much IMDb trivia in his head? We reached out to Kucinich's office and will update if he responds.
Update: In a statement to The Atlantic Wire, Rep. Kucinich would neither confirm nor deny our two theories on his mixup. But he did say this of Tom Hanks and Bill Murray: "I met both of them. I like both of them. They're both great actors. The moment in the committee room reminded me of the movie." Fair enough! We applaud the congressman for getting back to us.