Hollywood may seem like a massive place, but really, the entertainment industry is a small place in the scheme of things. Many actors become friends over the years, but there are a few cases of celebrities who knew each other before becoming famous. Here’s a look back at the intriguing friendship between Paul Rudd and Jon Hamm.
They both come from the same area of the country
While some actors become friends before hitting the big time through drama programs (like Winston Duke and Lupita Nyong’o), Rudd and Hamm met because of their location. The two actors grew up in the neighboring states of Missouri and Kansas (both of which share the city Kansas City).
Because of their proximity, it’s not uncommon for someone to Missouri to go to school in Kansas (or vice versa). Rudd, who spent most of his formative years in Kansas, went on to attend the University of Kansas, where he studied theater. This led to their meeting.
This is how Hamm and Rudd met
Rudd became friends with someone Hamm knew from growing up in St. Louis, Missouri. In a 2019 interview, Hamm said, “A good friend of mine’s older brother was [Rudd’s] roommate in college. And so he came back from college for Thanksgiving or something like that and we all played Trivial Pursuit together.”
As it turns out, there’s even more to the story. Years ago, Rudd said that he “wasn’t crazy” about Hamm when he met him — because both were interested in the same woman. And he thought of the game playing as a competition of sorts.
“[Hamm] was great at everything. We were playing trivial pursuit one time and I was with Sarah, the girl,” said Rudd. I would roll and be, ‘Um entertainment, sports.’ And Jon, every time he rolled, ‘I wanna go history.’ And it was the most emasculating because every time he’d get a question he’d get it right every time. And I actually felt so lame that I’d start reading atlases.”
They’ve taken different paths to fame
Despite being two of the most famous actors in Hollywood now, Hamm and Rudd had very different career trajectories. Rudd started off big with Clueless, while it took Hamm nearly a decade to come into his first leading man role in Mad Men, though his fame was then more immediate.
When Hamm moved out to Los Angeles at 25, he knew just one friend in the city: Rudd. He then stayed with an aunt and uncle of his at the time and said he was happy to have that one friend, “because that’s all I needed,” Hamm told David Tennant on a recent podcast.
Here’s what they’ve worked on together
Rudd and Hamm haven’t had a chance to act beside each other in any films or TV shows aside from the 2007 anthology film The Ten and the 2015 revival series Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp. But they’ve made their own opportunities to work together on smaller projects like Adult Swim shorts or appearing on podcasts together, often alongside their mutual friend Adam Scott.
They spend most of their time together outside of work, and they have one shared passion: Sports. In a 2016 interview, Rudd spoke about this saying, “That’s how I even started [playing] Fantasy Football was [Jon] Hamm, who invited me into his league.” But even though Rudd is into sports, it’s Hamm who always seems to win. “He is a competitive dude.”
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