The 1988, six-years-late E.T. doppelgänger Mac and Me was largely forgotten by American audiences, and rightfully so. The shoddily made, McDonald’s-sponsored movie has found an odd second life, however, as part of an ongoing prank Paul Rudd has been playing on Conan O’Brien for the past 10 years. As of last night, the tradition is still alive and well.
When Rudd was promoting The 40-Year Old Virgin on O’Brien’s show in 2005 (we can’t believe it was that long ago either), he goosed his host’s and the audience’s expectations. Instead of playing a clip of, say, the scene in which he makes fun of Steve Carrell’s painful chest-waxing, Rudd ran a clip from Mac and Me. We see a boy in a wheelchair roaring down a hillside, and then what is clearly a dummy with his likeness falling into an alien-inhabited river. Even if you were fully engaged with the entire movie up to this point, the scene would be very silly. Without any context whatsoever, it is sublime. Like transcendent outsider art that vaguely resembles a Spielberg movie. Rudd continued playing this clip instead of whichever movie he was supposed to promote in every subsequent appearance. But his latest is from Marvel, and Marvel wouldn’t allow this chicanery to continue, would they?
They would. Kind of. Watch the clip below to see the slightly skewed continuation of modern late night TV’s greatest bit. (Prank is not quite the word any more, since by now Conan is clearly in on it.) Lord willing, Rudd will be back again in a couple weeks to promote Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, and keep the streak alive.