It wasn’t exactly the crowning of a new king but it was at least the respect owed to a visiting head of state: Comic-Con 2015 kicked off in Hall H with Bill Murray’s first-ever appearance at the convention.
Murray was on hand for Open Road Films’ presentation, devoted exclusively to his upcoming comedy Rock The Kasbah. Following a screening of the film’s recently released trailer, Murray took the stage in character as the film’s rock promoter gone to seed Richie Lanz. After introducing panel moderator Josh Horowitz and the film’s writer Mitch Glazer, Murray spent a few minutes riffing as Lanz before being introduced properly as himself. Honestly, the gag wasn’t that successful, but Bill Murray being Bill Murray, he was enormously entertaining and the crowd lapped it up.
As befits a panel devoted to a film about an aging rock legend, the discussion was a loose, stoneresque affair, with Murray quipping at one point that he felt “like I could fall down in any one of these aisles and be left alone until I awoke.” Topics ranged from his time on SNL, his and Glazer’s long experience being around the weirder aspects of rock culture, and his past with Rock The Kasbah co-star Bruce Willis. (The Die Hard icon turns out to have served as a page on SNL during the ’70s and later told Murray that “you and Gilda [Radner] were the only people who were nice to me.”
Other highlights from the occasionally ribald and extremely laid back hour:
— Murray said he drew inspiration for Lanz from Van Morrison’s manager, a man Murray described as “a pathological liar” and “just a wonderful guy.”
— Leading the audience in a free-for-all sing-along, Murray encouraged everyone to sing whatever they wanted. The result was a weird cacophony that died out rather quickly, but not before sounding a lot like “Happy Birthday” combined with “Working On The Rail Road.”
— Murray revealing that he’s a huge Miley Cyrus fan. “[She] is really f*cking good,” he said. “I thought she was just a crazy girl, the kind of girl you’d wanna go on a road trip with and maybe not have ID, but she was amazing. So I don’t wanna hear anymore bad rapping of Miley Cyrus.” He did quickly add however that it is perfectly OK to dis Rick Ross.
— Asked by one fan what his favorite role has been, Murray played to the crowd hard, saying “Once upon a time I did save the city of New York. And I had the coolest damn car to drive around Manhattan.”
— Discussing Murray’s memetic reputation for doing weird stuff and then telling witnesses “no one will ever believe you,” Glazer told the audience about how, for years, Murray would call him whenever Roadhouse happened to be on TV to tell him “your wife is banging Patrick Swayze.” (Glazer is married to Roadhouse co-star Kelly Lynch).
— Finally, asked about his reaction to Comic-Con, Murray was almost emotional. “I didn’t know what to expect. I honestly didn’t know what my place was before I came. I must say I feel wonderful in this room. I feel comfortable in this room, I don’t know if it’s passion, but I like when people get excited about something. There’s a lot of people who don’t get excited about much at all… that’s pretty cool, it’s nerdy but some of the best parties I’ve ever been to were with really insane nerds.”