The Paul Rudd Mac And Me prank is one of the longest running gags in talk show history. Anytime he gets a chance, Rudd will trick Conan O’Brien into thinking he’s brought a video of his latest project for the audience to see and will instead play a clip from the 1988 box office disaster,(Amazon link) Mac and Me. Decdes later, he’s still doing it. Here’s the Paul Rudd Mac And Me prank explained.
The First Paul Rudd Mac And Me Prank
The first time that Rudd ever pulled off his now famous “Paul Rudd Mac And Me” joke was when Rudd was promoting the final episode of the hit NBC TV show Friends. Rudd played the love interest of Phoebe Buffay (Lisa Kudrow) in the series and was bragging to Conan that he had an exclusive clip from the series finale episode.
Everyone, including Conan, was very excited. Here’s a segment from Rudd’s February 6, 2004, appearance on NBC’s “Late Night with Conan O’Brien”. Skip to 3:20 to see the Mac And Me clip.
Paul Rudd Mac And Me Compilation From His Many Conan Appearances
Over the years, Paul Rudd was a frequent guest on Conan’s various late-night talk shows. And each and every time, Rudd played the same exact joke on Conan.
To make it feel legit, Rudd will tease the audience that’s he about to play something special like an exclusive scene from the final episode of Friends or a clip from one of his movies like The 40-Year-Old Virgin or Anchorman. But instead of showing his “exclusive” clip, Rudd always plays the ridiculous scene from the movie Mac And Me of a boy in a wheelchair falling off a cliff.
Even though the audience started to expect it, they were always delighted to see the running gag get played on Conan, yet again. And Conan’s fake frustration just added to the moment. The long-running joke was the equivalent of a “Rick Roll”, but Rudd started doing the joke long before Rickrolling was even invented.
Here’s a Paul Rudd Mac And Me compilation of most of his appearances on Conan’s various late-night shows.
The Paul Rudd Mac And Me Joke Being Explained To Chris Evans
Paul Rudd’s EXCLUSIVE “Ant-Man” Clip
While other movie studios looked the other way and let the long-running “Mac And Me” joke play out, Disney was different. Rudd and Conan talked about the Marvel movie machine and how Disney wouldn’t allow him to show the same scene from Mac And Me. So while promoting the Marvel film Ant-Man, Rudd finally played a different clip after all these years.
Paul Rudd Pulls His Mac And Me Prank One Last Time On Conan’s Last Week As A Late Night Talk Show Host
In November 2020, Conan O’Brien announced that he was ending his TBS late night talk show. After 28 years, he was finally calling it quits. Although Rudd wasn’t booked as an official guest on Conan’s last week, he crashed Bill Hader‘s interview. The three of them reminisced about one of the worst sketches in Saturday Night Live history, called “Ed Burns’ Grill Boys”, that aired when Rudd was the guest host. Rudd offered to play the clip of the SNL sketch, but of course, it was the Mac And Me clip. He did it again!
We are so happy that Paul Rudd got to do his Mac And Me prank one last time to Conan.
RIP Paul Rudd Mac And Me prank (2004-2021). It was a great piece of performance art that we got to enjoy for 17 years. Thank you, Paul Rudd!
The Official Mac And Me Trailer
We’re not sure what the creators of the film Mac And Me think about all of this. The mostly forgotten film from 1988 certainly keeps getting an extra boost of publicity from Rudd’s appearances on Conan. If you haven’t seen Mac And Me before, it’s basically a bad ripoff of Steven Spielberg‘s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982). How bad? It has a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
NERD NOTE: Jon Hamm (Mad Men) and Paul Rudd were childhood friends, and they are still close friends today.
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Frank Wilson is a retired teacher with over 30 years of combined experience in the education, small business technology, and real estate business. He now blogs as a hobby and spends most days tinkering with old computers. Wilson is passionate about tech, enjoys fishing, and loves drinking beer.