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Paul Rudd, world's youngest 51-year-old, tells fellow kids to mask up

The Ant-Man star merrily trips through every millennial cliche ever on his way to an important coronavirus message.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Expertise Breaking news, entertainment, lifestyle, travel, food, shopping and deals, product reviews, money and finance, video games, pets, history, books, technology history, generational studies. Credentials
  • Co-author of two Gen X pop-culture encyclopedia for Penguin Books. Won "Headline Writer of the Year"​ award for 2017, 2014 and 2013 from the American Copy Editors Society. Won first place in headline writing from the 2013 Society for Features Journalism.
Gael Cooper
2 min read

At 51, Ant-Man star Paul Rudd is no millennial, but in a new public service announcement for the state of New York, the actor pulls out every youthful cliche he can to encourage people to wear face masks. It's a delightful romp through every cringeworthy word older people think is young and hip, including "bae" and "fam" and "yeet." Yet somehow, Gen Xer Rudd pulls it off.

Introducing himself as "actor and certified young person," a skateboard-toting Rudd says his "homie," New York governor Andrew Cuomo, asked him to encourage millennials to wear masks to prevent coronavirus. 

"What are you, like, 26?" Rudd says Cuomo asked. "And I didn't correct him." Then comes the stampede of millennial cliches -- the worst might be "slide that into your DMs and Twitch it." It's like someone fed an AI machine every word Urban Dictionary has added in the past few years. At one point, he pretends to talk to singer Billie Eilish. Hint: It's not really her.

But the message is simple, and near the end, Rudd's character kind of collapses into the simplicity of his request. 

"Just wear a mask, I shouldn't have to make it fun, it's science!" Rudd hollers. He's followed by a genius placard that reads, "Wear your mask. It's science. Ugh!!! Brought to you by the State of New York."

The PSA smartly plays off Rudd's reputation for looking much younger than his 51 years. When Rudd turned 50 back in April 2019, social media posts demanded to know where he'd found the fountain of youth.

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