The death of Harold Ramis left most of the nation feeling like the floor of a taxicab yesterday, and the outpouring of grief and tributes continued to spill out into the ether like an overloaded protection grid, irresponsibly shut down by some dickless EPA agent. Among them was no less than the President of the United States himself, as President Obama issued a statement acknowledging the importance of Ramis’ comedy to our cultural identity, and even outing himself as a Caddyshack fan. He also praised Ramis for spurring audiences to question authority—a philosophy that’s obviously near and dear to the highest authority in the land:
“Michelle and I were saddened to hear of the passing of Harold Ramis, one of America’s greatest satirists, and like so many other comedic geniuses, a proud product of Chicago’s Second City. When we watched his movies—from Animal House and Caddyshack to Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day—we didn’t just laugh until it hurt. We questioned authority. We identified with the outsider. We rooted for the underdog. And through it all, we never lost our faith in happy endings. Our thoughts and prayers are with Harold’s wife, Erica, his children and grandchildren, and all those who loved him, who quote his work with abandon, and who hope that he received total consciousness.”
(Obama’s Harold Ramis fandom was evident, of course, in his most recent State of the Union, which concluded with “Hey everybody, we’re all gonna get laid!”)
On a less presidential, but wholly more personal level, Ramis was also remembered yesterday by his fellow Ghostbusters. “Deeply saddened to hear of the passing of my brilliant, gifted, funny friend, co-writer/performer and teacher Harold Ramis,” Dan Aykroyd wrote on his Twitter. “May he now get the answers he was seeking.”
Meanwhile, poor Ernie Hudson was caught by TMZ’s cameras just after he’d heard the news, and pressed into making a statement. “Harold was the glue. There wouldn’t be a Ghostbusters without Harold Ramis, and I know I probably wouldn’t be in the business had I not had the chance to work with Harold at that time in my career,” Hudson says. Forced to comment further on whether there would be, as Aykroyd has long suggested, another Ghostbusters movie, Hudson speaks for us all by saying, “There can’t be a Ghostbusters without Harold. That was always my fear, that something would happen before we could all get together.”
Over at Time, Bill Murray—who’d been estranged from Ramis for years, but had reportedly visited him in his final months—issued a terse, yet sweet in its own way statement, about the man with whom he’d made his most beloved comedies. “Harold Ramis and I together did the National Lampoon Show off Broadway, Meatballs, Stripes, Caddyshack, Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day. He earned his keep on this planet. God bless him.”
Finally, while a viral photo of New York’s Hook and Ladder 8—better known as the Ghostbusters firehouse—showing it’d hung up its old Ghostbusters sign turned out to be an old one, erroneously recirculated, the station did play host to another tribute. Since yesterday, fans have been leaving candles, photos, and Twinkies out front—the Twinkie containing all the psychokinetic energy in the New York area and beyond that’s currently being directed toward mourning Harold Ramis. And indeed, that’s a big Twinkie.