To quote Emma Stone in Zombieland, “Bill Murray has a direct line to my funny bone.”
It’s something that all people can agree with. Whether it’s his in-film comedy portraying hilarious characters or cameos as himself, his real life shenanigans, or showing up to Jimmy Kimmel in a dress, he never fails to make us laugh and ask, “why?”
Basically, he’s America’s sweetheart.
But as we found out earlier this year with another comedy great, being able to be funny doesn’t always mean being happy. And as much happiness and laughter as Bill Murray has brought to audiences and fellow actors, he almost didn’t make it to where he is today.
In a surprisingly little-known interview that recently popped up again on Reddit in a Huffpost piece, Bill Murray reveals that when he first started acting in Chicago (represent, Bill), he wasn’t very good (hard to believe).
[quote_box_center]”I walked for a couple of hours and I realized I walked the wrong direction, not just the wrong direction in terms of where I lived, but the wrong direction in the desire to stay alive.”[/quote_box_center]
This quote led to some giggles – including from Murray himself – but he goes on to say that he truly lost his will to live that day, so much so that he thought about walking to the lake and dying there so that his “body would float for awhile.”
But instead of finding Lake Michigan, he found Michigan Avenue. And when he found and wandered into The Art Institute, he came across the painting that would turn his life around, “The Song of The Lark.”
“I thought, ‘Well there’s a girl who doesn’t have a whole lot of prospects, but the sun’s coming up anyway and she’s got another chance at it.’ So I think that gave me some sort of feeling that I too am a person and I get another chance everyday the sun comes up.”
Art emulates life, and it’s amazing to see how art impacted someone whose own art has impacted so many people over a long career.
And to all the bummers out there pushing their glasses up their nose and saying, “well actually, in that painting the sun is setting, so he didn’t see it right.” Who cares? That’s the beauty of art – it’s all about how you interpret it. It’s a placebo effect where the truth of the thing doesn’t matter; the effect and emotion that comes from it is what’s important.
Bill Murray’s comedy has left an inspiring legacy at the likes of Chicago’s Second City, inspiring comic actors and writers of the future. He’s made us laugh both in his films and in real life, and he’s brought a whole new dimension to what it means to have Chicago pride.