Sky Is Showing Groundhog Day On Repeat Because It’s Groundhog Day

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Just when you thought you couldn’t get enough of Bill Murray – and tbqh, I don’t know how anyone could ever get enough of Bill Murray – Sky Cinema Comedy is celebrating Groundhog Day with 13 showings back to back of the 1993 classic Groundhog Day.

The latest showing started at 1pm (NOW!), so get yourself comfortable because you’ve got the chance to watch Groundhog Day nine times. I don’t know why we didn’t get this news to you sooner. I apologise wholeheartedly for allowing you to miss the first four screenings.

In case you’re unaware of what Groundhog Day is and why Sky Cinema would fill their schedule with it for an entire day, let me explain.

Groundhog Day is a popular tradition celebrated in Canada and the United States on February 2. It derives from the Pennsylvania Dutch superstition that if a groundhog emerging from its burrow on this day sees a shadow due to clear weather, it will retreat to its den and winter will persist for six more weeks, and if it does not see its shadow because of cloudiness, spring will arrive early.

Groundhog Day, the film, is a 90s romantic comedy, based on said tradition, which sees local weatherman Phil Connors (Bill Murray) trapped in a time warp where it’s Groundhog Day every day. I’ve not seen it for years. Perhaps several viewings will help bring me up to speed.

With or without Groundhog Day, Bill Murray is a legend in my book: Ghostbusters, Caddyshack, Lost in Translation, all but one of Wes Anderson’s entire filmography (seriously), bartending at SXSW…

Oh yeah, South by Southwest is mainly known for being a music festival. A riotous few days spread out across the city of Austin, Texas, it features everything from punk bands playing unofficial shows out on pavements, up and coming artists in pop-up venues and well-established acts on outdoor stages.

What is perhaps less well-known, however, is that before all the bands swarm into the city, SXSW is also a film festival. Actors and directors will premiere their movies and, probably, stick around for the week-long party afterwards, so it’s not unusual to see a film star inconspicuously wandering around among the music fans.

In 2010, Bill Murray was that film star. Reportedly hanging out with his pals GZA and RZA from Wu-Tang Clan, with whom he’d starred in 2003’s Coffee and Cigarettes, Bill was wandering around the east side of Austin when he was drawn towards Shangri-La, a dive bar that had been open for a year.

As Gavin Edwards describes in his book The Tao of Bill Murray, the actor had a couple of drinks and got talking to an off-duty bartender called Trevor Rathbone. They chatted for a while, but before too long Bill was getting mobbed by enthusiastic fans and made an exit to watch some music.

A few hours later, though, the actor returned, along with his friend GZA. One of the bar staff immediately sent a text message to their boss, Tyler Van Aken, who was serving at the bar upstairs. ‘Bill is back looking for Trevor,’ it read. As the nights at SXSW draw on, the bars get busier and busier. Tyler replied, ‘See if Bill will get behind the bar.’

A few seconds later the reply came, ‘Bill is bartending!’

Tyler dropped what he was doing and ran downstairs to witness one of the world’s greatest comedic actors serving drinks at his bar.

Jesse Cates, a bartender at the time, said:

All of a sudden, Bill Murray’s standing next to me behind my bar. I found myself bartending with a Ghostbuster. It was pretty flipping sweet.

A Ghostbuster he may be. However, a bartender he is not. When a customer would lean in and tell Bill their drink order, he would listen, nod and simply grab the nearest bottle of tequila and poor them a shot. And if people tried to pay, he would just give the money to the nearest bartender and move on.

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As Tyler put it:

Bill Murray’s obviously not going to open the drawer and give you change! Why are you even trying to pay him?

Footage of the infamous night was captured by Erica Hoerl, who uploaded the video saying:

I randomly caught Bill Murray pouring shots of tequila and whiskey for a bunch of excited hipsters (like us) at Shangri’la in Austin. He then went and chilled with GZA in the corner while we all whipped out our iphones to tweet about it.

Afterwards, Tyler said:

I think he had fun, or else he wouldn’t have been doing it for fully thirty minutes, and he wouldn’t have been pouring shots of booze into some kid’s mouth!

As Bill eventually made his way to leave, Tyler made sure to say something before he left. He said: ‘Sir, I really can’t tell you what you did meant to me. Me and my dad built that bar.’

Bill stopped, looked back at Tyler and said: ‘Tell your dad I said hello,’ before walking away.

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Personally, I can’t get enough of Bill Murray, and it’s a crime that I’m forced to sit in an office and tell people about Bill Murray when it’s basically Bill Murray-day.

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Tim Horner

Tim Horner is a sub-editor at UNILAD. He graduated with a BA Journalism from University College Falmouth before most his colleagues were born. A previous editor of adult mags, he now enjoys bringing the tone down in the viral news sector.