Conan O’Brien has closed Conan out for the last time and who else but Paul Rudd would crash the grand finale to stick the landing with one of the longest and funniest running gags of all time. You almost certainly know what happens here. Rudd has been pulling the state stunt since 2004 on every single appearance on O’Brien’s shows across various networks. That doesn’t make it any less worth watching.
Yes, for nearly two decades now, Rudd has brought the same fake-out clip every single time he shows up as a guest, swapping the clip from whatever show he’s supposed to be promoting for huge dose of cringe from the E.T.-knockoff Mac and Me. The joke has aged every bit as well as Rudd has. At first, it depended on the element of surprise. These days, it’s just the fulfillment of expectations, and not a single laugh is lost for the switch. This particular instance is helped by the appearance of Bill Hader, who sets it all up nicely.
If you’ve got some time and care to take a trip down memory lane, here’s every single time Rudd’s pulled this off, including the very first stunt, back when Rudd was best known for being Phoebe’s boyfriend.
Please note, the clip does contain some strong language, but one can hardly blame O’Brien for his reaction here. Some commitments to the bit are just that impressive.