Dating back to 2004 and as recently as October 2019 (watch here), every time Rudd appears on O’Brien’s show, he brings with him and tees up the same scene from Mac and Me — a 1988 sci-fi comedy he is not in — rather than a scene from the project he is currently promoting.
During Monday’s show, Rudd crashed Bill Hader’s interview and discussed a cut Saturday Night Live sketch that was so bad, Lorne Michaels dubbed it “the worst received sketch of all time.” Rudd told Hader and O’Brien that he had obtained the dress rehearsal footage — but, alas, it was Mac and Me.
Afterwards, Rudd revealed how the enduring late-night bit came to be.
“I just remember [coming on your show] the very first time thinking, ‘It’s so artificial to come on and sell your wares, and show a clip from your movie… What if I just show a clip from another movie?'” he explained. “We’ve never talked about this, but I thought, ‘What if I show a clip from this movie I saw a long, long time ago that is just really strange?'”
Rudd also revealed a second box office bomb he considered splicing back in 2004, before he landed on Mac and Me:
O’Brien’s 28-year stint in late-night television comes to an end Thursday. As previously reported, he will continue to host his signature Conan Without Borders travel specials for TBS, and launch a new, weekly variety series for HBO Max, which is currently in development.