You’re gonna learn what drives Paul Rudd’s magnetic personality in this week’s episode of Classic Charm.
I’ve been the ultimate Paul Rudd fanboy since 2005’s 40-Year Old Virgin. He is the God of romcoms and my fantasy best friend.
The magic of Paul Rudd is that we all had a friend just like him. A normal looking dude that loves cracking you up at the most inappropriate times but would never lose your trust as an ol’ buddy ol’ pal.
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I wrote a bunch of lead-ups to what drives Paul Rudd’s magnetic energy and just general likeableness by probably everyone in the world. (Honestly, can you think of anyone who would not like this guy?) But I’m just gonna get to it:
Paul Rudd is happy.
I can’t really go any further if you can’t get on board with this. Because when it comes to being absolutely magnetic, this check on the box is the hugest. It’s human nature for everyone to gravitate towards people with qualities we admire. And more than having power over others, being rich or intelligent, having cool talents like basketball or ghost hunting, the one on top of the top of the list of traits is the seemingly ever-elusive happiness. Because if you’re happy, really genuinely just full of glee in almost every situation, you really don’t need anything else.
And honestly, I know a lot of fuckin’ people: Hardly anyone is happy.
So if you meet a person that seems to just be automatically getting shots of cocaine straight into his lung stream at all times without ever trying, and he makes the room full of laughter and that sense of, “Everything’s gonna be okay,” you want to be around that person a lot and just feel his golden shower of good cheer as much as you can.
Paul looks like he knows the secret to happiness is to just choose to be happy all the time. He knows that you don’t have to actually fucking DO ANYTHING to actually achieve happiness. In fact, “achieving” happiness makes no sense to a person like him. You don’t “achieve” happiness. There is no “path” to happiness. Rather, you just choose happiness as your default state and there you go boi. You’re set on a path of happy no matter what life throws at you.
And no, it’s not like Paul doesn’t get pissed or doesn’t dislike certain people. I’m sure he’s muttered the line, “That guys a fuckin dick,” as many times as you have. Happiness isn’t some hypnotized state where you’re numb from all negativity. It’s actually more like having the ability to get negative about something but still being a happy son-of-a-bitch at the core.
It’s literally as simple as snapping your fingers and then deciding to make that your life for the… rest of your life. You can do this right now by counting down.
Three, two, one, POP!
There, now you’re as happy as Paul Rudd is. Now you can just make everyone around you crack up because nothing is so serious to be so serious. You’re Paul Rudd now.
Okay, there’s a next half to Paul’s magnetic charm:
He’s probably the best improvisationalist ever lived. I just realized that word is actually improviser. The people who are the most talented at their crafts are the ones where you don’t think they’re really doing much. I have this idea that there’s three levels of perception to being really talented.
The first level is when you make something look incredibly difficult and you look stressed about it. The second level is when you make something look really difficult and you look at ease about it.
The highest level of being talented is when you make it look effortless and not really something that would take much skill even for a beginner. Then you go and try it and you realize it’s fucking impossible. That’s where Paul Rudd is at for improv. You don’t even realize he’s doing anything special, even though for some reason you are laughing so hard your cheeks hurt.
And I’m about to teach you the second most important rule of improv ever made. This is what Paul is the best at and if you can get good at this you’ll never have to think about trying to be funny ever again.
Disappointed? Yah. So in improv, one of the most important rules is that. Be boring. You want me to get into the mechanics of why this is genius and actually valuable at all? Okay.
First off, when it comes to group interactions, the point of an improv sketch is not for you to be the star. The entire focus of improv is to further a narrative build from the tiniest nugget of information. To make someone the star in improv would be throwing off the balance of that focus, making it feel lopsided by taking away the back-and-forth ping pong build-up of a spontaneous story.
The next big reason you should be boring is that during an interaction, the speed of your cohesiveness with others is more important in the entertainment of others than you actually trying to be funny.
Third, even that concept of trying to think of something funny is the biggest trip-up for amateur comedians. The second you start thinking is the moment you stop entertaining. Okay, you want me to get even further into this? Oh boy, here we go.
You, the person who’s watching this video right now, are unique. There is literally nobody like you and there will never be another you. You are one out of many billions. The exact thoughts you’re thinking right now, no matter how similar they could be to the others watching this video right now, are perfectly unique. If you get up on stage and start spontaneously talking, nobody will ever say what you say. This element of uniqueness in every individual is the life force of the art of improv. This means that you have an endless well of original creative ideas that can flow out of you at every moment. And they’re all going to be unique to you in some big or even just slightly different way. You can draw these out of you on command at any time. Imagination is instinctual. So, to ever try to be creative, interesting, and funny makes zero sense to an improviser. Because 1. The second you leave your instinctual imaginings is the second you have stopped being unique. and 2. Even a millisecond of thinking about something funny or interesting is a millisecond too long when it comes to being perfectly engaged and cohesive with another person.
And here’s where everyone gets mucked up. Right now, if you’re a normal person, you’re thinking, “That’s great and all, Anthony, but I’m not some genius funnyman. I’ve tried trusting my creative instincts and it just in-stinks!” But the thing about being you is that you live with you a real lot. In fact, you live with you more than anyone else lives with you. So you know yourself so frickin’ much that you think your natural thoughts are boring and unoriginal. Just like I’m sure that if you were stranded on a desert island with only an iPad that had The Godfather downloaded on it, and you just ended up watching The Godfather about 8 billion times, you’d eventually think, “The Godfather isn’t very amazing anymore.” It’s cause you’ve seen it so much that it’s lost its magic. And that’s where everyone gets screwed up when it comes to improv. They think they have no magic. But for someone who has never met you before, that exact recipe of all the millions of little qualities and tendencies you have is the exact mixture that will entice them for hours after you’ve left the stage.
So, basically what I’m trying to say is, Paul Rudd is really good at that.
If you start looking at his humor, you never see Paul going for anything outside of his unique take on the obvious next step.
Let’s go back to Paul’s urinal prank on Jason Segal. He tends to like penis humor. So when Paul and Jason both need to go pee, and they are next to each other at the urinal, what’s the obvious thing to say to your buddy to make him feel uncomfortable?
Or when you’re on a press junket for a movie and it feels to have a serious, professional tone to it, and there’s a mug of water for you to drink, and you drink it and you have a beard, what’s the obvious thing to do to make your co-star laugh? How about spill the water all over yourself? Then what? How about to ask to get topped-off as though it’s some cocktail… and then to keep asking to get topped-off again and again so you effectively make a mockery of the over-the-top show-business imagery of the set design.
Paul doesn’t do anything mind-blowing because he knows that he himself and his natural inclinations are the special variables in the funniness equation. No more needs to be added than him and his dumb ideas.
So you, you too can be like my fantasy best friend Paul Rudd by simply trusting your own instincts. Trust your faculties. Trust yourself. And just like the secret to being happy, when everyone else is busy trying to find the answer outside of themselves, you know the magic happens right there inside of your li’l head by just going snap.