San Diego Comic-Con officially kicks off today, and Deadline has details from this year’s first Hall H panel, which featured Bill Murray doing Bill Murray-esque things to the delight of a crowd not yet been worn down by days of convention-going. It was Murray’s first appearance at Comic-Con; he was there to promote his upcoming comedy Rock The Kasbah, in which he plays an aging rock promoter named Ritchie Lanz.
In addition to screening the film’s trailer, Murray reportedly spent the first few minutes of the panel in character as Lanz alongside the film’s writer Mitch Glazer and panel moderator Josh Horowitz. He entered through the crowd and sang along to Deep Purple’s “Smoke On The Water” on stage.
As Deadline explains, “Honestly, the gag wasn’t that successful, but Bill Murray being Bill Murray, he was enormously entertaining and the crowd lapped it up.”
Thankfully, the actor eventually re-introduced himself and spent the rest of the panel playing the odd persona that is Bill Murray. Deadline describes it as a “loose, stoneresque affair” that featured discussions of everything from Glazer and Murray’s experience with rock culture to the fact that Bruce Willis (who co-stars in Rock The Kasbah) used to work as a page on Saturday Night Live and once told Murray, “You and Gilda [Radner] were the only people who were nice to me.”
Murray also led the whole audience in a sing-along where they were encouraged to sing whatever they wanted for 30 seconds:
And when asked about his favorite role, Murray played to the nerd-happy crowd, noting, “Once upon a time I did save the city of New York. And I had the coolest damn car to drive around Manhattan.”
Of the many topics covered in the hourlong panel, one unexpected one was singer Miley Cyrus, who, it turns out, has a big fan in Murray: “Miley Cyrus is good. I was not particularly convinced, but Miley Cyrus is really fucking good,” he explained. “She can really sing. I thought she was a knucklehead crazy girl, the kind of girl you’d want to go on a road trip with. But she can really sing…I don’t wanna hear any bad rapping on Miley Cyrus.”
As always, Murray seemed to know just how to play to the crowd, including a rare moment of sincerity when asked about his reaction to Comic-Con:
I didn’t know what to expect. I honestly didn’t know what my place was before I came. I must say I feel wonderful in this room. I feel comfortable in this room, I don’t know if it’s passion, but I like when people get excited about something. There’s a lot of people who don’t get excited about much at all… that’s pretty cool, it’s nerdy but some of the best parties I’ve ever been to were with really insane nerds.
While Murray’s full panel will likely make its way onto the internet sooner rather than later, Entertainment Weekly also some notable quotes, including the fact that after a con-goer dressed as a unicorn sang “It’s A Small World” into a microphone, Murray proclaimed, “Oh God, I could do this forever.”