Watch: Paul Rudd talks about Albert Brooks and… ‘Conan’?

Paul Rudd is a hardcore comedy nerd.  When you talk film with him, it’s obvious that he’s got a huge hunger for new comedy, and a huge respect for classic comedy.  I’ve known him long enough now that it’s become obvious that Rudd is one of those people you reach out to when you want to know what’s going on in comedy around the world.

When Judd Apatow cast Albert Brooks as Rudd’s dad for the currently-shooting “This Is Forty,” I e-mailed Rudd just to freak out a little bit.  If you’re a comedy fan, there are few people held in esteem as high as Brooks, both as a filmmaker and a performer.  I love that Rudd name-checks “Lost In America” in our interview, and I look forward to finding a time when I can ask him for tons of Brooks stories above and beyond the great one he told during this interview.

It is a near-universal truth that women between the age of 25 and 40 are Rudd fans for life thanks to the power of “Clueless,” and if that was the only film he’d ever made, he would definitely be able to just coast on that.  But since “The 40 Year Old Virgin,” Rudd’s been one of the most in-demand guys in the world of comedy, and that’s due in large part to the way he jumps in to play with whoever he’s in a scene with.  He’s great with improv because he doesn’t just go for the joke.  He always brings his improvisations back to character, and that’s invaluable for a director, and for the other actors in a scene.

In “Our Idiot Brother,” there is some improvisation, but it’s not really a flat-out comedy.  There’s a lot of authentic pain in the film, and there are some strong observations about the way family dynamics play out.  I’ll have a review of the film tonight, but for now, enjoy this interview.  Keep in mind, this was the same day as all the “Conan” interviews, and Rudd was the very end of my day.  What could have been a crash-and-burn because of low energy turned out to be the highlight of the day, and I hope you guys enjoy it.

“Our Idiot Brother” opens everywhere this Friday.