I think we can all agree that Bill Murray is the wisest man in show business. Probably. I mean, yes, definitely. So when he stopped by BuzzFeed to promote his new movie Rock the Kasbah, we thought this would be the perfect opportunity for Bill to dole out some of his wisdom to BuzzFeed staffers. After gathering some snacks from the kitchen, he sat down to offer up whatever advice he had and to answer some burning questions. Here's what happened.
Chelsea was up first:
Chelsea: I want to know, do you have a favorite prank to pull? Do you like pulling pranks?
Bill Murray: Well, I’m not much of a prankster because real guys, they never give up, and I’m not that organized, to really lay and wait for years and years on people. I used to call people in the middle of the night, you know: Is your refrigerator running? That kind of thing. You know what’s funny — you’re not hungry at all?
Chelsea: I’m a little hungry but I’m not like — I’ll have some snacks.
BM: I've got baby carrots and I’ve got, they said it was hummus but I’m confused about hummus. I thought hummus was chickpeas. That smells like — [he pranks Chelsea by smushing her face in a tiny package of hummus] — now that kind of thing is what I like to do. And it’s not unbelievable, but it’s what I like to do.
BM: That’s the only thing I really like to do. I like to do that with ice cream and cake.
Chelsea: What about ice cream cake?
BM: I find it the more senior the person you can get into the cake or ice cream, the better it feels. There’s just something about it. I remember getting my agent's wife into some remoulade sauce in Paris once. "Oh my god, we should send this back?" And she was the kind of person who said, "We should?" And I said, "It smells terrible. It's off. This is like two days old." Just reeled right in. Right into the remoulade. She couldn’t believe it! You know, there’s this huge seafood tower, the last thing you think is, My nose is gonna be in that thing in a second.
Chelsea: Well, the key to good prank is a setup, I think.
BM: The key is to proffer it around a little bit first. You've got to fake a couple, and don’t do it to the people you’re not going to do it to. No, no. "You don’t think that’s strange? You don’t think that smells funny?" That’s good.
Chelsea: Have you ever taken a prank too far or known someone who’s taken a prank too far?
BM: Yeah, I’ve made jokes with people, like fake tripping or something like sort of push-and-shove somebody and they have like a wooden leg, I’ve done that.
Chelsea: Oh no!
BM: Well, you know, it’s a long life. You’re gonna make some of those errors, but I find that those are stunning in their beauty. Like, my god, my complete unawareness. I’m always reminded of it. You have to delight at the realization that you're not a perfectly functioning machine.
April was next:
April: I kind of have a two-part question. So, I wanna know, what was your favorite character on SNL, or any kind of impersonation?
BM: I played?
BM: Well, it’s not one that most people remember — even I have trouble with it — but once I had to play a movie actor in a scene. And I was — John Belushi was playing the stuntman and I was the actor — and all I had to do was, I didn’t have many lines, and I had to do this scene and they yelled "CUT!" OK, bring in the stuntman, and they said, "Dennis, can you find your way to your trailer?" and I just said, "Yeah." That was all I did. That was all I did. I had so little to do on the show in the early days that was all I had and I had to really make something of that "yeah" moment. That was fun.
April: Now you said "'yeah' moment," — so I wanted to know, as advice asking my boss for a raise, what would be my "yeah" moment? Like, "yeah, raise."
BM: The thing about the "yeah" moment with the raise that I’ve learned is that it’s sort of suggested that you’re easily replaced, and most people aren’t easily replaced. It’s like you’re here and you’re April and you’re probably doing a fine job. And I always tell people that you have to realize that it’s gonna take them, this fella or this woman, time to replace you, and train the person that’s gonna take your job the amount of money you would save in not giving you a raise is not commensurate with what it would take to do that. So you just have to have more confidence going in.
BM: It’s like if you’re going looking for a job, or auditioning for something, you walk in and people feel nervous, like, Oh, am I good enough? That person wants the process to end right now. They want you to walk in and take the job. So if you’re asking for a higher position or more money, you have to have that confidence, you have to be completely unafraid. My friend Gilda, everything she auditioned for, she got. She didn’t want everything, but she got it anyway because she didn’t need the money. There was a difference. Most actors are starving and she was not starving. So, if you walk in there and have great confidence that you don’t need the job, people will go, like, Holy cow, look at this confident chick walking in here.
Next up was Bob with a very important question:
Bob: How do I keep my friends and family on their toes a little more? I’m scared they've gotten a little comfortable around me, and I want to make sure they're a little wary.
BM: Wow. You want them on their toes a little bit more. Well, are you on your toes?
BM: Really? Well if you're really on your toes and really here — you know, really here — that changes everything.
BM: What do you weigh?
Bob: I don’t know, 160 or something like that?
BM: You don’t know? Well, if you're really on your toes you'd kinda have an idea or a ballpark, you'd be all over that.
Bob: That's true.
BM: When you're with them, do you sit with them generally when you're talking to them?
Bob: Yeah, I’m usually sitting down.
BM: Try to feel the 160 pounds in your body — like, feel that weight in your pelvis when you're sitting in the chair.
Bob: I’m feeling it.
BM: All right, because you've gotta quiet down a little bit to really feel the weight a little bit, so you feel little bits in your feet on the stool — 160 pounds when you feel that weight, and you really feel like 160, got it?
BM: OK, so here we are now. We’re 160. Something’s different. And that’s, you know, they can feel that. They can feel that difference when you are aware of yourself — it changes the dynamic between you and them. So that change, that all of sudden brings a different kind of relationship, a different vibration you’d call it, I guess, and it changes the room. It changes the room just you're doing it now. You feel it?
Bob: I’m feeling it, yeah.
BM: That’s what I would say. And maybe, I mean, when you say, "I want them more on their toes," you probably want yourself more on your toes, more of yourself too, you want them to give more of themselves to you. So if you can do this with them — and it's hard to work with your immediate family — if you can do that with them, then they give it back to you sort of naturally and without reservation and it’s almost sort of a blessing that it comes to you because we're not really aware of what's happening, but you'll be aware of it because you're working on it.
Bob: Yeah, that makes sense. Thank you.
BM: You're welcome, I wish you luck with that.
Loryn was next:
Loryn: You seem really relaxed. I was wondering if you meditate?
BM: Well, I do. Yeah.
Loryn: Yeah? Like every day?
BM: The only thing I really do every day is scrub my teeth. That’s about it. But I’m not as organized as I look. I know I look incredibly organized, but I’m not that organized. But I find it’s, you know, I think everyone should figure out how to do it one way or another. To sit and just sort of pull yourself together first thing in the morning. Because you're sort of, you're put back together in your sleep. You're sort of reassembled. And the best time to sort of observe yourself is when you're sort of put back together first thing in the morning.
And finally, Sarah asked the question we all needed the answer to:
Sarah: So, you’re known for crashing parties, you know that. I was hoping you could give me advice on how to crash a party with style.
Bill Murray: With style? Well, I think it’s all about ease of entry. It’s about getting in. I used to know guys in the old days in Colorado that would find parties, and they’d have no place to stay when we’d go skiing, and they would just buy a gallon jug of wine and find a party, walk in with a gallon jug of wine, which looks like, Hey, you guys are gonna share. And what they would do is drink enough wine to fall asleep in the place and stay there. Now, that’s not what you’re looking for is it? Or is it?
Sarah: That’s a style, I think.
BM: I think the best is to have a burden, or something that’s difficult to carry, like a case of beer, and come to the door and fumble. So people will help you — they will open the door for you and usher you in. And say, “These are cold, where should I put them?” If those are your first words, then you’re already into the kitchen. And if you’re in the kitchen, you are the heartbeat of the party.