If tomorrow’s release of the new Paul Rudd comedy “Wanderlust” is giving you a case of Internet wanderlust, and you’ve found yourself rambling around the web in search of funny Rudd clips, look no further. Here’s five of his best viral videos, each showcasing a different side of his talents. Pull up a chair, slappa da bass, and get ready to laugh really hard.
1. Paul Rudd: Effortless Straight Man
Judd Apatow has frequently cast Rudd as the calm at the center of a storm of deranged masculinity. He has a knack for being funny without making jokes, and for delivering jokes in a way that makes them sound off-the-cuff rather than scripted. Take, for example, this brilliant parody of LeBron James’ “The Decision” starring Rudd and Steve Carell. Watch Rudd’s poker face as he drops random names of people Carell might have already told of his major announcement (“Did you tell…Vice President Joe Biden?” “I just got off the phone with him.”). I don’t know how either one kept from cracking up.
2. Paul Rudd: Brilliant Improviser
Of course what makes Rudd unique is his combination of leading man good looks and a truly demented comedic mind. “Wanderlust” director David Wain — who’s cast Rudd in every one of his four films — likes to lull audiences into a false sense of security with Rudd’s handsome ordinariness, then blast them with sudden bursts of absurdity. I don’t know where this outtake from Wain’s “The Ten” about corporate coffee and sexual indiscretions came from — who knows, maybe it came from the screenplay — but Rudd imbues it with the authenticity of a ranting weirdo. You’ll never look at one of those cardboard cup holders the same way again.
3. Paul Rudd: Speaker of Gibberish
Rudd’s linguistic talents don’t just manifest themselves in epic runs like that one from “The Ten.” Some of his finest improvisatory work can be found in the outtakes sections of his DVDs, where you can watch him come up with one new line after another. In this compilation of alternate takes from 2009’s “I Love You, Man,” Rudd drops enough quotable material for two or three movies. I particularly like “I will be there or I will be not there.” That should have made the final cut.
4. Paul Rudd: Closet Musical Theater Nerd
Speaking of “I Love You, Man,” the film’s bromantic chemistry between Rudd and co-star Jason Segel extended beyond the screen to their press tour, where the pair promoted the movie by cracking each other up in interview after interview. There’s a famous viral clip where the pair each try to out-fart the other, but I’m more partial to this one, where Segel and Rudd show off some serious musical theater chops by singing an excerpt from “Les Misérables.” I know director Tom Hooper’s making a serious big-screen adaptation of “Les Mis,” but I’d rather see a version starring these guys.
5. Paul Rudd: Video Game Pitchman
It took a while for all of these wonderful facets of Rudd’s persona to emerge. He didn’t spring forth from the womb fully formed (it’d be kind of weird if he did). Before he was “Paul Rudd” he was a bar mitzvah DJ, a horror movie hero, and, most impressively, the star of this awesomely ’90s ad for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Now, of course, we think of Rudd as the lovable everyman, the last guy to put on airs or act cocky or cool (unless he’s doing it ironically). So it’s pretty amazing to see him as this guy: the badass in the flowing black overcoat, rocking out to “F-Zero” and “Sim City.” Don’t mess with Paul Rudd, man! He’s playing with power; super power!