We tend to view Bill Murray as a sort of outsized culture hero these days, providing TV specials with semi-ironic songs, films with a mixture of humor and deadpan sadness, and people everywhere with anecdotes that everybody believes that no one will actually believe. But even comedy heroes get the blues, as Murray reminded us today with a video post about how his old friend Hunter S. Thompson and the folk music of John Prine once helped pull him out of a depressive slump.
The video was posted today on Prine’s YouTube account, the better to promote the Grammy Hall Of Famers’ upcoming 2018 tour. In it, Murray talks about a time when he was feeling utterly down about his comedy and his life, only for Thompson to tell him “We’re going to have to rely on John Prine for his sense of humor.” And while one might assume Thompson was joking, high, or both, Murray apparently took the advice to heart, citing Prine’s song “Linda Goes To Mars” as the inspiration for his funny coming back. It’s not clear when exactly this story took place, but Murray thinks he was listening to Prine’s greatest hits compilation, Great Days, so it’s gotta be after 1993. Which raises the question: Do we have John Prine to thank for Rushmore, and the rest of Murray’s post-Groundhog Day career?