“You know my next guest from such films as Clueless and The Cider House Rules and of course for playing Phoebe’s soon-to-be husband Mike on Friends.” That’s how Paul Rudd was introduced on the February 6, 2004, episode of Late Night with Conan O’Brien. Why is this episode, out of 2,700-plus talk show episodes, so special? Because it was the beginning of late-night’s greatest running joke: the Mac and Me prank.
Rudd started big, promising Conan’s audience a clip from the Friends finale. Nope.
Fifteen years later, Rudd is still showing that same damn clip, and fifteen years later, it’s still hilarious. He’s brought it for The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and Our Idiot Brother, and Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, and Role Models, and Ant-Man, all the way up to promoting his new Netflix show, Living with Yourself. The only difference between then (2004) and now (2019) is Rudd’s hairstyle has improved; also, there are two Macs and everyone expects Rudd to break out the clip. And yet, it still works due to his straight-faced composure and because it’s a scene where an ugly alien makes a goofy expression after a kid in a wheelchair goes flying off a cliff. Is that “cinema,” Marty?
As soon as the episode aired, viewers started sharing their delight.
Paul Rudd talking to Conan after setting up the ‘Mac and Me’ clip. pic.twitter.com/EbH9F2ijVi
— Vas Drimalitis (@vasdrimalitis) October 23, 2019
Listen, Paul Rudd's Mac And Me prank makes me laugh till I cry every time. Every time! I love it.
— BOO-is Frightsman (@LouisPeitzman) October 23, 2019
Paul Rudd’s ‘Mac and Me’ gag is the best running joke on all of late night television.
— LaLoyd (@AlexTheRager) October 23, 2019
It makes me so happy that all these years later, Paul Rudd’s Mac and Me prank on Conan is still going strong.
— Maxwell Haddad (@cinemaxwell) October 23, 2019
I hope Paul Rudd never stops doing the Mac and Me bit.
— Jane Boo-ey 👻 (@janesviews) October 23, 2019
Paul Rudd pulling the Mac and Me prank on Conan gets me every time pic.twitter.com/klWVbwQm0H
— Lindsay Montague (@lindsayglenne) October 23, 2019
Paul Rudd throwing to that clip from "Mac & Me" on Conan is the greatest showbiz tradition we have now that the Letterman Christmas show with Darlene Love and Jay Thomas is no more.
— Jamie Patton (@jamiesp) October 23, 2019
— jim (@thepowernerd) October 23, 2019
I just watched Paul Rudd on @ConanOBrien he was promoting his new show. He showed that stupid clip from Mac and me again and I lost it. I never laughed so hard in my life. My laugh turned into a violent cough I had to take my inhaler. damn you #paulrudd for almost killing me
— Dark and Twisty (@RainingGrey) October 23, 2019
I always know Paul Rudd is going to show the Mac and Me clip the first time, but the second time I always think "OK maybe the studio is really adamant about making him show a real clip this time" and it always gets me.
— Killbert ROTbleed 🎃 (@clintisiceman) October 23, 2019
Paul Rudd's Mac + Me clip on @ConanOBrien is my favorite running joke in all of late night I'm so glad I just got to watch it live oh my fucking god 😂😂😂
— catt is probs reading krbk rn ✊💥 (@VainerBuckle) October 23, 2019
The Paul Rudd Mac and Me joke is the only long running joke that works
— Jacob Reznik (@JacobReznik) October 23, 2019
Let Paul Rudd remake Mac and Me, you cowards. McDonald’s can fund it.