The Hot Seat: Paul Rudd
In case you were wondering, it's a rhombus.
Wed Nov 5 2008
Illustration: Rob Kelly
In Role Models, Paul Rudd has a really bad day and is subsequently ordered by the court to enroll in a Big Brothers Big Sisters--like mentor program. He is assigned to a nerdy teenager whose favorite pastime is the Dungeons & Dragons--inspired activity live-action role-playing, also known as LARPing. Hilarity ensues. The 39-year-old caught up with us after doing "a sweep of sundries" at the Target in Kingston, New York.
RECOMMENDED: Full list of Hot Seat interviews
Time Out New York: To ask the obvious question first, have you ever been a Big Brother?
Paul Rudd: I considered it for a little while, and I think it's a very worthwhile thing to do. But like many things, I have good intentions, but when it comes to actually doing it, I tend to, like, sit on my couch and watch television.
TONY: Wrong answer. You were a big brother in Clueless.
Paul Rudd: Yes, but just a stepbrother. You know, to temper the incest story line there.
TONY: There's a lot of LARPing in Role Models, which you cowrote. Does that mean you were into D&D?
Paul Rudd: I never really was. I was never much into knights and sorcery and that kind of thing. It's not because I was into anything cooler. I certainly wasn't. I played with LEGOs. I played with LEGOs way past when most people played with LEGOs.
TONY: What's your crowning LEGO achievement?
Paul Rudd: I built a Pittsburgh Steelers football player—number 5, because that was the only number I had enough black left over to do. But that was cool because the Steelers' kicker, a guy named Craig Colquitt, wore number 5. And the weird thing is, we moved to Kansas when I was ten, and about eight months ago I was visiting my parents, and the guy who lives across the street from their house is the punter for the Kansas City Chiefs—and his name is Dustin Colquitt. He's Craig's son! So, Dustin was over at my parents' house and in an old box I found my Craig Colquitt LEGO player. I showed it to Dustin, who was kind of freaked out, understandably. And then my mom moved something, and it shattered all over the floor.
TONY: Crazy. Are you as into fantasy sports as your character in Knocked Up is?
Paul Rudd: Yeah. Even before we made that, my wife told me, "You know, I'm so sick of looking at your back!"
TONY: Does that mean you've stopped playing?
Paul Rudd: No. In fact, this year for football I just decided that I'll change the name of my team every week, and it's NY1 anchors. So week one I was the Pat Kiernans. Week two I was the Annika Pergaments. Week three I was the Lewis Dodleys.
TONY: Are there really enough NY1 anchors to make that system work?
Paul Rudd: Are you kidding me? I haven't even scratched George Whipple or Budd Mishkin yet.
TONY: So how is it going with your wife? You know, Phoebe Buffay, whom you married in the final season of Friends?
Paul Rudd: We don't talk. The marriage ended horribly. She went on to The Comeback. No, what happened is NBC ended the show, and... [Pause] I can't think of anything funny. Ah, fuck it—I'm in Kingston, for crying out loud. You know how there's those pockets where you have no cell-phone service? I'm in a no-comedy zone. I'm having a tough time picking up a signal.
TONY: Here's an easier one. Your character in Anchorman refers to his penis as the Octagon. Are you closer to a pentagon, or are you more of a decagon?
Paul Rudd: I'm actually more of a rhombus.
TONY: Nice one! It occurs to me that you've appeared in a ton of movies lately. Are there any that you regret not being in?
Paul Rudd: I don't really think in those terms. There's movies that I love, but I don't really think, Oh, I wish I was in that. But when I was in high school and was thinking I maybe wanted to become an actor, I saw Dead Poets Society. I was just like, Oh my God! I will never get the chance to be in that movie! Man, I've got to go home and stand on my desk. That's how much I'm feeling that movie right now.
TONY: Okay. Enjoy your sundries.
Paul Rudd: Thank you very much, and carpe diem.