Way back in 1982, Bill Murray was the first guest on Late Night with David Letterman—beginning a tradition of absurdly hilarious appearances that culminated last night, on Letterman's penultimate episode, when Murray popped out of a cake as a sendoff for the host. Here are some of Murray's best Letterman moments.
1. An Appearance to Remember
Here’s where it all began: Murray’s interview as the first guest ever on NBC's Late Night with David Letterman. In his typical sardonic fashion, he makes fun of Dave, explains that he regrets not strangling Richard Nixon when he had the opportunity, has a humorous mental breakdown, shows off a short film he made in his backyard about a panda bear named “Cancun” that was forced to work in a Chinese restaurant, and ends the whole thing by doing aerobics while singing Olivia Newton John’s “Physical.”
2. Creating a Late Night Theme Song
In this somewhat tame appearance from 1993, while promoting Groundhog Day, Murray shows off his pipes again and channels his old SNL lounge singer character—Nick Winters—to croon a proposed theme song for Late Night.
3. Hecklers Beware
In 1991, Murray confronted a heckler in Letterman’s Late Night audience and defended Dave’s honor … if only it were real.
4. Auditioning for Peter Pan
Murray flew into his January 2014 appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman to unofficially audition for a proposed live TV version of Peter Pan while singing “I Can Fly.” Give the man the part!
During the same appearance, Murray decided to shave the beard he grew for an upcoming movie on-air just because it was bothering him. He starts off with an electric trimmer, but graduates to an impressive dual razor technique.
5. Channeling Liberace
After making an elaborate entrance dressed as Liberace—complete with a white Rolls Royce and a fluffy dog—Murray unveils his giant anniversary gift to Dave on the side of the Ed Sullivan Theater, then uses a pick-ax and then a jackhammer to open a hole in the studio floor to uncover a time capsule he allegedly left there 20 years ago. Artifacts Murray found include a New York Post with a Jay Leno headline, Dave’s hairpiece, and a photo of the two together.
To end the show, Murray regales Dave with Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” just to show him how much he truly loves him.
6. What a Character
While promoting The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Murray mocked his mention in Letterman bandleader Paul Shaffer’s book, dressed as a well-educated gentleman fop lamenting the changing of the seasons. In the second half of the show, Murray explains why he wants a pint of George Clooney’s blood.
7. Keeping it Elevated
Murray—on crutches after injuring himself while skiing during the Sundance Film Festival—shows off the video of the accident, and promptly asks Dave be the first to sign his wounded leg. The actor gets a little too warm in the second half of the interview, and demonstrates his love of figure skating.
8. Going for a Swim
Before sitting down for an interview, Murray literally did a little dumpster diving behind the Ed Sullivan Theater.
Murray explains to Dave why he likes the ponies and the thrill of competition for the Kentucky Derby.
10. A Different Kind of Audition
With a little help from Regis Philbin, Murray tries out as a field-goal kicker for the New York Giants.
11. Tase Me, Bro
Murray rolls into the interview tied up and in the back of a car, and eventually gets tasered in this 2012 appearance for his film Hyde Park on Hudson. The banter includes stories about Murray playing impromptu kickball with some unsuspecting folks on Roosevelt Island and then re-creating the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting with Dave—don't forget the hot chocolate with marshmallows—because he missed it that year.