Was Paul Rudd’s Late-Night Nap a Bizarre Skit or an Obscure Tribute?

You’ll only find a few comedians nowadays willing to take as many comedic risks as Paul Rudd does. His recent Netflix series Living With Yourself is a good example of taking on something not typical in the comedy realms, even if actors playing doppelgangers isn’t new.

He’s also one of those comedians who realizes putting in extra time on late-night guest appearances can translate into comedy gold. Steve Martin was (and still is) known for going to great lengths to create an elaborate comedy bit on any late-night show he appears on.

Now you can apply Paul Rudd to the same category, with proof recently when he did an elaborate parody of an old ’80s music video on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

When Rudd appeared on Late Late Show with James Corden, the former tried a little performance art with post-debate on how real it was.

Paul Rudd and James Corden on The Late Late Show
Paul Rudd and James Corden | Photo by Terence Patrick/CBS via Getty Images

Was Paul Rudd’s nap real or a parody of underground cinema?

We can always expect something unexpected watching James Corden’s show as we’ve seen with some of his surprise stunts like Carpool Karaoke. When Rudd appeared on the show on October 21, it looked like Corden was setting him up to do a sketch sounding more than a little ridiculous.

Everyone should have known when a sketch sounds a little hackneyed on Corden’s show (e.g. Celebrity Noses), it’s a setup for something to go awry.

Sure enough, Rudd admitted to Corden he’d been working too hard and just couldn’t do the sketch. His jet lag exhaustion meant he had no choice but to nap on the couch in the green room.

And so it was we had a chance to see Rudd crawl onto the couch, cover up, and take a three-minute nap while Corden sat in the chair and taped it quietly. Everyone in the audience chortled away wondering what the twist was going to be when there wasn’t one, other than Rudd saying “he couldn’t sleep” after a long wait.

Late-night TV analysts called it Rudd’s nod to underground cinema like Andy Warhol’s (in)famous 1964 film Sleep. Latter film showed a close friend of Warhol’s sleeping for over 5 1/2 hours.

Rudd brought some other daring comedy to late-night TV the same week

Everyone saw Rudd on a number of late-night shows during this same week, similar to what Will Ferrell accomplished playing Ron Burgundy on multiple shows at once a couple of months earlier.

On Conan, Rudd partook in pulling a practical joke on Conan O’Brien for the 15th year by showing a clip of E.T. knockoff Mac and Me in place of any clip from Living With Yourself. Everyone could see it coming, but Rudd kept a straight face throughout as he always does, proving his complete commitment to a comedy bit.

Is Rudd going to turn into the favorite late-night guest before long thanks to always bringing something unexpected? Steve Martin doesn’t do this as much as he used to, though Will Ferrell still goes to extremes to grab laughs for just a casual appearance.

If Rudd is truly into underground cinema, we might see him do something everyone takes overly seriously. Even we’re still debating whether his Corden nap was real or just a form of performance art.

Will Rudd start doing more experimental comedies?

While we know Rudd is now officially part of the MCU with his Ant-Man, it’s going to be a little while before he does a sequel with this character. In the meantime, he seems to be delving into the comedic stratosphere again, including appearing in the equally experimental Between Two Ferns: The Movie with Zach Galifianakis.

He’s also agreed to be in the upcoming Ghostbusters 2020 reboot, proving Marvel isn’t holding him down to do anything else he wants.

We just wonder how experimental his comedies are going to become when he’s known for a specific type of movie comedy. When it comes to comedians like Rudd and Ferrell, they’re competing on just how much they get away with on TV or on the big screen.

No matter if Rudd does a two-hour underground comedy film he plays perfectly straight, he can probably get away with it and likely pull in a decent profit.