Fifteen years after first faking out the then-“Late Night” host with a clip from the derided 1988 “E.T.” ripoff, the actor swung by “Conan” to prank O’Brien yet again. Rudd’s latest Netflix series “Living with Yourself” joins the list of projects to get the vaunted “Mac and Me” bump on late night, joining a handful of MCU entries, “Anchorman 2,” and the “Friends” finale (which initiated the tradition way back in 2004).
Every appearance starts off innocently enough, with Rudd discussing the particulars of the latest film or TV show he’s promoting, dropping in some pre-planned anecdote before throwing to a clip. Nearly without fail, that footage ends up being the same incredibly ridiculous scene from “Mac and Me,” featuring the movie’s protagonist Eric barreling down the side of a hill in a wheelchair before being hurled off the quarry into the water below. Mac the alien pops up his head in alarm, and the scene cuts to black and throws back to an exasperated O’Brien.
This time around, after a lengthy preamble about the state of TV watching and the relative ease of binge-watching “Living with Yourself,” it seemed like O’Brien was forestalling the inevitable. As the conversation turns from talking about the show in broad strokes, you can see him shaking his leg, gripped by the crushing anxiety of knowing what’s about to happen.
Running this bit for a decade and a half means that Rudd has had to switch things up once in a while. Without spoiling it, this invocation of the clip comes with the tiniest twist. It’s just enough to make this another worthy entry in this singular, decade-spanning institution.
Watch the clip from Rudd’s appearance (including the immortal phrase “our show is the cornhole of TV”) below: