It’s the Deadpan

Bill Murray is a funny guy.

I discovered this the other night when I finally decided to park my behind down in front of my computer and watch Ghostbusters. Yes, I know; I’m late to the party. Y’all have packed up the Doritos, wiped down the tables and placed the empty beer bottles on the curb for pickup. I’m thoroughly embarrassed. What can I say? Better late than never? 

To be fair though, one could argue that my “invitation” kinda/sorta got “lost in the mail” (so to speak). Ghostbusters hit theaters in the summer of 1984, six whole years before my immaculate birth, so by the time I was able to string together a coherent thought and legitimately comprehend a film of Ghostbusters’ (albeit simple) scope, my cinematic interests lay elsewhere (Clueless, anyone?).

That’s not to say, of course, that my awareness of the world only spans the time elapsed from my birth ’til now. Definitely not. In fact (not to get too off topic here, but…) I absolutely loathe ignorance and will promptly side-eye anyone my age or younger who says, “Well… that happened, like, fifty years ago. Why should I care?” No sweetie, read a book. I don’t excuse people like that (so don’t excuse me) but if for some legitimate reason a person missed the boat on something (and is willing to be filled in), I can sympathize, and certainly understand.

But back to Murray.  It’s all about the deadpan.  That, and the eyeroll — always done at the most appropriate moment and to the most appropriate degree.  A born comedian, he’s incredibly witty — any of his interviews on Letterman will tell you that.  He’ll call you out on your sh*t too, both on screen and off.  This man doesn’t have an agent, is allegedly only reachable via a 1-800 number, and will walk around West Hollywood and New York unshaven and in a ratty old t-shirt without a second thought.  Why?  It’s almost passe to say this but well…because he’s Bill F*cking Murray, that’s why.  He just can.  We’ve all heard the stories: Bill will show up at some frat party in Wisconsin and start washing dishes, or crash a band session in some dude’s basement and start playing tambourine.  The man simply doesn’t give a sh*t — and we love him for it, praise him for it, and frankly, envy his ability to get away with it. 

No sooner did I finish Ghostbusters did I locate Groundhog Day, another film probably best watched at this stage in my life if only for it to receive my full appreciation.  Another hilarious film, brilliant in its subtlety, it left me wondering why movies aren’t made that way anymore and why so-called “comedians” like Vince Vaughn are able to make so much bank at the box office these days. The next night I squeezed in a viewing of Lost in Translation — another Murray project I had somehow slept on — and at one point, his character said something that completely shook my world and gave me one of those “aha!” moments Oprah’s always talking about:

“The more you know who you are, and what you want, the less you let things upset you.”

Epic. This is the kind of stuff they don’t teach you in school but should. 

Viva la Murray!

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