Dan Aykroyd Reflects on the First Time He Met Bill Murray

by Jennifer Shea
Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Dan Aykroyd’s fateful first meeting with Bill Murray happened many years ago now, but Aykroyd remembers it like it was yesterday.

On a recent episode of Late Night with Seth Meyers, Aykroyd retold their first meeting, which coincided with Aykroyd’s arrival in America.

Aykroyd, who is originally a Canadian, had a comedy act with a partner, Valri Bromfield, and the Second City hired them. Then the Toronto company of Second City switched places with the Chicago company, and Aykroyd found himself in America.

When he got to Chicago, his guide to his new city was none other than Bill Murray. Murray got them settled in apartments and took them around to all the bars and grocery stores in the area. As he got his first H-1 and his work permit, Murray was his sponsor.

Watch Aykroyd retell their first meeting here:

Dan Aykroyd Stars in Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Aykroyd wasn’t stopping by 30 Rock just for the hell of it. He was there to promote his new movie. Along with Murray and Ernie Hudson, Aykroyd stars in the Ghostbusters sequel Ghostbusters: Afterlife, which follows Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz, and Winston Zeddemore along with the descendants of their old comrade, Egon Spengler (played by the late Harold Ramis), as they battle Gozer the Gozarian, the ancient Sumerian god who tried to bring about the destruction of all mankind in the original.

“Danny and Ernie and I together, not in separate scenes, but together—there’s a force,” Murray told Vanity Fair recently. “It’s like Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have done their solo albums, but when they’re all on the stage, it’s a whole different thing.”

As for Aykroyd, he got a kick out of the reunion with his Second City and Saturday Night Live pal, who is a live wire wherever he goes. On the set of Afterlife, Murray really got into improvising taunts to throw at the villain, and Aykroyd soon joined in, staying in character as he did.

“It was really fun to be back,” Aykroyd added. “Billy is such fun anywhere he goes. He’s one of those human beings that has that magnetism. You just look at him and you’ll laugh. And him sloping around in that pack, which he doesn’t like wearing any more than any of us, it’s just so funny. To see him just lurking around in that pack and putting up with it. Yeah, it’s been a great week.”

Aykroyd Says Murray ‘Has a High BS Detector’

Afterlife was not the first Ghostbusters sequel to come out, and Murray had been pretty scathing about Ghostbusters II. For his part, Dan Aykroyd noted that as the original co-writer, along with the late Ramis, he has proprietary rights. So they can’t make a sequel without him. But they can’t make a convincing sequel without Murray, too, so it was a very big deal when Murray signed on to do Afterlife.

“Billy is very discriminating and has a high BS detector,” Aykroyd told USA Today this month. “He’s not going to do something that’s false in any way. Having his imprimatur made this whole thing valid. If he hadn’t done it, it would have been a massive hole. But he saw the merits, the joy, and the possibilities here.”

With the surviving gang reunited once again, Aykroyd is convinced that Ghostbusters: Afterlife will be as much fun for audiences to watch as it was for him, Hudson, and Murray to make. And who knows? He may just be right about that.