Bill Murray on being obnoxious: An animated interview from 1988 for PBS Digital’s “Blank on Blank”

By on October 29, 2015

Blank on Blank/PBS Digital Studios have an excellent animated interview with Bill Murray, dating back to October 1988, post-Ghostbusters, where he talks about the effects (and benefits) of fame, admitting “I’m just an obnoxious guy who can make it appear charming, that’s what they pay me to do.”


Murray — interviewed at his home in New Jersey — starts off the conversation by telling the interview, T.J. English, who was writing a profile about Murray for Irish America magazine, that he’s going to need more coffee if they’re doing a “Q&A”-type interview.


This was done around the same time that Murray was appearing in Scrooged, and when English sat down with a a tape recorder in Murray’s backyard he captured the much-loved comedic actor in as seemingly as comfortable setting as you’d ever find him. At one point, Murray’s dog even interrupts the proceedings (we don’t know the dog’s name, but in 1991 Murray had a dog named Bark, one of our favorite dog names ever).

Murray talks about quite a lot of topics in this short interview, including: paying his mom back after he made it big,  the off-screen fun he had with his co-stars during the making of Ghostbusters, the change he made in his life, spiritually, that saved him from dying, and how fame sort of helps with picking up women. Sorta.

You can talk to girls more easily,” Murray says. “They will talk to you. You don’t necessarily do better, but they will talk to you.”

He also talks about how people treat you differently once you become famous: “I’ve gotten out of a couple of speeding tickets,…I’ve gotten into a restaurant when I didn’t have a suit and tie on, that’s really about it.”


In this behind-the-scenes featurette, “Blank on Blank”‘s David Gerlach describes some of the work that went into the creation of the episode (animated by director/animator Pat Smith):

“We put together a script with a mix of vintage Murray humor and some poignant reflections. It is always tough to decide what can fit into the animated version of each episode. Thankfully we add bonus cuts to the podcast version of the episode and post more outtakes on the episode page (like scoop on SNL, getting into a figth with Chevy Chase, drinking with Hunter S. Thompson, etc.).”

Be sure to check out our other posts from PBS Digital Studios’s “Blank on Blank” series, including our previous posts on Hunter S. Thompson and Tom Waits.


About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.