Today, the state of New York is going all out with its mask-wearing push. The MTA has started enforcing a $50 fine on New Yorkers who refuse to wear a face covering while riding on public transport. It also debuted a stunning new poster campaign that gets clever with shapes and Governor Andrew Cuomo also just pulled out the big guns: Paul Rudd.
Cuomo just tweeted out a new film starring the actor/comedian playing someone more akin to his role in the popular 1995 film “Clueless”—a millennial. Though youth vernacular has evolved a bit, Rudd manages to squeeze out every bit of modern vocab, albeit clumsily, into an entreaty to get the younger set to don face coverings:
“Fam, let’s real talk. Masks? They’re totally beast! So slide that into your DMs and Twitch it! … Yes, queens like ourselves we want to go to bars, we want to drink, hook up, do out TikToks. I get it! I’m not going to preach at you like some celebrity, blugh! This is a combo, where I talk and you shut up and wear your mask.”
Rudd, as with all his comedic roles, embraces the ridiculous premise wholeheartedly to deliver a message that draws viewers in, but the spot takes a dark turn when the actor’s beat boxing segues into genuine frustration. “Just wear a mask!” he screams. “It’s easy. It’s simple. Please, it’s not hard. People are dying! Hundreds of thousands of people are dying, and it’s preventable. It’s preventable! Just wear a mask! I shouldn’t have to make it fun! It’s science! It’s science! Arghggghghgh!”
The spot, however, doesn’t end on a completely dark note and proves to be rewarding for those who stick around past Rudd's rant.
After the film's release, the New York State website shared a transcript of an interview Cuomo did with Long Island Radio News' Jay Oliver, in which the governor shared details on how the video came to be:
"You know, my frustration is younger people. College kids coming back to college, they all want to have a party, they all want to drink. Younger people at protests, they're not wearing their masks, they think they're invincible. So, for months the great challenge is how to get to young people. I call up Paul Rudd, and I'm a big fan of Paul Rudd, I had met him at an event. I call him up and I said, 'You know can you do a PSA, a video, that really gets to young people?' And he's respectful, he's listening to me, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah I can do that.'
"I said, 'You know you're funny. I think humor might do it,' because I've tried everything. I've begged, I've pleaded, I've threatened. I don't know what else to say. So, Paul Rudd says, 'Yeah, I can do it.'
"Paul Rudd says on the video, 'The Governor said I was 26. I didn't correct him.' But look, he is a masterful performer and it is funny as heck, but it's also powerful. It's gotten 9 million views in like 24 hours and that's the audience we have to talk to; we have to talk to young people."