When Bill Murray walked onstage to deliver the opening remarks at a Suffolk University award ceremony last Tuesday, he carried with him an unmarked paper shopping bag. The bag rested at his feet as he introduced the honoree, James Downey, whom he met when they started working for Saturday Night Live on the very same day in 1976.
Downey was there to receive a Louis P. and Evelyn Smith First Amendment Award for his political comedy writing — he's responsible for writing gags for Will Ferrell's George W. Bush, Fred Armisen's Barack Obama, and every O.J. Simpson joke delivered by Norm MacDonald.
The bag sat on the floor while the friends bantered about SNL's halcyon days, Tony Blair, and the beauty of Emmylou Harris. Its purpose became apparent in the audience Q and A, when Murray began reaching into it in order to pelt his interlocutors with miniature candies. Near the end of the program, he focused on a gray-haired woman seated in the front row, throwing handful upon handful of Krackels and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups while shouting, "Open! Open! Open!"
Murray was far more sedate at the reception following the event, a relatively quiet affair at the Ames Hotel bar. He drank Milagro tequila and grapefruit juice. After posing for a handful of pictures and accepting a full-body hug from a euphoric female fan, he retreated to the company of the friends who had accompanied him: two women close to his age, one of whom cupped his face in her hands. A college reporter who wore a jacket and carried a notebook asked for an interview.
"No thank you," Murray said, frowning. He left shortly thereafter.
: This Just In
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