Dubai Diaries: Why Paul Rudd is an example to us all

How can one person attract so much positivity?


David Light

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Published: Sun 21 Nov 2021, 2:05 PM

There are points in popular culture when an artist is absolutely everywhere. I’m reminded of Jude Law’s ubiquity as we ticked into the new millennium, the intensity of which prompted 2005 Oscar host Chris Rock to comment: “Why is he in every movie I have seen in the last four years? Even if he’s not acting in it, if you look at the credits he makes the cupcakes or something.” While the jab irked a few at the ceremony, the astute observation sums up many of our feelings on the matter – ‘why?” Why that person? Why are they so special? Are there no other stars? Overexposure can lead to resentment and at the moment Jon Bernthal’s name is the latest to crop up in seemingly every film trailer. Good luck to him, but it’s a slippery slope.

There is one exceptional performer, however, who has managed to defy the odds. The latest People’s Sexiest Man Alive at the age of 52, Paul Rudd has been a constant presence since his breakout roles in Clueless (1995) and Romeo + Juliet (1996). That’s getting on for 27 years! And still I defy anyone not to love the ageless funnyman, serious actor, action powerhouse and bankable talk show guest. From his memorable turn as Brian Fantana in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004), to popping in as Mike Hannigan for 18 episodes of Friends (1994-2004), to suiting-up and shrinking down as Marvel’s Ant-Man (2015-present), to simultaneously hitting the big and small screen in this month’s Apple TV Original The Shrink Next Door and the eagerly anticipated Ghostbusters return, the flood of Rudd knows no limits. Bring it on, I say.

Watching the first few episodes of his and Will Ferrell’s two-hander The Shrink Next Door and having been treated to a sneak preview of the brilliant Ghostbusters: Afterlife, to say the actor only improves with age would be an insult to his extensive canon. In my view Rudd has never turned in a sub-par show. Yet, we therefore return to the dilemma: consistent excellence and a seemingly ever-lasting choice of projects should provoke at least a little audience irritation. Why don’t we feel it for the New Jersey/ Kansas native? I think the reason was best summed up on Friday’s Late Night With Seth Meyers. Talking to Rudd in the studio about his relationship with Ferrell, Meyers said: “I don’t mean to blow smoke, but you guys are very similar in that when people ask me what you’re really like, I’m like ‘you can’t believe it but they’re as nice as you want them to be.’” So being an all-round genial person means people may applaud your success? There’s a lesson there, kids.

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