Watch Bill Murray Perform a Satirical Anti-Technology Rant (1982)

Above you’ll find find a clip from Wired In, a tele­vi­sion show pro­duced in the ear­ly eight­ies meant to ori­ent view­ers in the midst of that heady era of tech­no­log­i­cal inno­va­tion. Alas, the pro­gram nev­er aired; only a demo reel and some raw footage sur­vive. But those remains fea­ture no less a comedic lumi­nary than Bill Mur­ray, who even 32 years ago must have been quite a catch for a pilot like this. Though not known for his tech savvy, he has built a rep­u­ta­tion for mak­ing any­thing sound hilar­i­ous by virtue of his per­sona alone. This skill he applies to a par­o­dy of the every­man’s anti-tech­nol­o­gy dia­tribe, as com­mon­ly heard then as it is today — or as it no doubt was 32 years before the shoot, or will be 32 years from now. “Who thinks up all this high-tech stuff any­way?” Mur­ray demands. “They start with the dig­i­tal watch­es. Tells you the time in num­bers, the exact time to the sec­ond. 3:12 and 42 sec­onds. Who needs to know that stuff? I don’t!”

Keep watch­ing, and that Wired In clip heads to Las Vegas to demon­strate for us the won­der of sol­id-state car­tridge soft­ware for the Texas Instru­ments Home Com­put­er. But if you’d rather mar­vel at more of Mur­ray’s par­tic­u­lar kind of craft, watch the full sev­en min­utes of rant takes above. His riffs, seem­ing­ly script­ed as well as impro­vised, of vary­ing moods and pitched at vary­ing ener­gy lev­els, take him from those dig­i­tal watch­es to auto­mat­ed car fac­to­ries to R2-D2 to talk­ing dash­boards to the one idea he does like, robots that ride along­side you in your car’s pas­sen­ger’s seat. “You know what?” he con­cludes, “They’ll nev­er do it — because it makes too much sense.” The mak­ers of Wired In clear­ly had a pre­scient­ly sar­don­ic atti­tude about the com­ing waves of tech-relat­ed anx­i­ety; the pilot also includes a jab at the notion of video game addic­tion from “Pac-Man freak” Lily Tom­lin.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Bill Mur­ray Reads Wal­lace Stevens Poems — “The Plan­et on The Table” and “A Rab­bit as King of the Ghosts”

Fact Check­ing Bill Mur­ray: A Short, Com­ic Film from Sun­dance 2008

Bill Mur­ray Reads Poet­ry at a Con­struc­tion Site

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on lit­er­a­ture, film, cities, Asia, and aes­thet­ics. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall.

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