NEW YORK TIMES: I found online that you recently gave a 10- or 12-minute extemporaneous speech to a minor-league baseball hall of fame. Even in a moment like that, are you playing a role or being your authentic self?
BILL MURRAY: Well, I think there’s an authentic self. Thank you for reminding me. [The audience laughs.] No, it’s true. You go on automatic sometimes, where you’re just reacting, as opposed to being your authentic self. Up here I can talk like a turkey and be funny, but it’s not necessarily my authentic self. Unless I’m watching myself.
I spoke about the first time I went to Wrigley Field in Chicago, and I was a big Cubs fan, and I watched all the games on TV, but when I grew up, TV was in black and white. So when I was 7 years old, I was taken to my first Cubs games, and my brother Brian said, “Wait, Billy,” and he put his hands over my eyes, and he walked me up the stairs. And then he took his hands away. [He begins to get choked up.] And there was Wrigley Field, in green. There was this beautiful grass and this beautiful ivy. I’d only seen it in black and white. It was like I was a blind man made to see. It was something.
NEW YORK TIMES: There seems to be so much serendipity in your life. Are you actively cultivating these moments or just hoping that they come to you?
BILL MURRAY: Well, you have to hope that they happen to you. That’s Pandora’s box, right? She opens up the box, and all the nightmares fly out. And slams the lid shut, like, “Oops,” and opens it one more time, and hope pops out of the box. That’s the only thing we really, surely have, is hope. You hope that you can be alive, that things will happen to you that you’ll actually witness, that you’ll participate in. Rather than life just rolling over you, and you wake up and it’s Thursday, and what happened to Monday? Whatever the best part of my life has been, has been as a result of that remembering. MORE