Barry Season 4 Features A Surprising Behind The Scenes Contribution From Paul Rudd

This post contains spoilers for the two-episode premiere of "Barry" season 4.

Paul Rudd is a funny guy. He's funny on screen in roles in movies like "Ant-Man," "This Is 40," and "Clueless," but he's also apparently funny off-screen, where he seems to lend ideas to writers on both projects he's a part of and projects he has nothing to do with. In a recent interview, Rudd revealed that Judd Apatow used a real-life argument from Rudd's marriage in the "Knocked Up" script, and Marvel President Kevin Feige even says it was his idea to explore the quantum realm in the latest "Ant-Man" sequel.

It sounds like the actor loves to pitch ideas that might make for good comedy, and he did just that in a conversation with "Barry" co-creator and star Bill Hader that led to one of the show's most eclectic music choices. Hader appeared on The Prestige TV Podcast this week to unpack the highly anticipated return of his pitch-black HBO comedy, and Rudd's name came up in a conversation about Gene Cousineau's (Henry Winkler) ridiculous one-man show. When it came to picking the tune that would play when Vanity Fair reporter Lon O'Neil (Patrick Fischler) stepped into the theater, Rudd had the perfect idea for over-the-top mood music.

Rudd suggested a ridiculous needle drop

"I've gotta give Paul Rudd credit," Hader told the podcast, "because I was telling him about the sequence, and I go, 'Oh, I need good music playing when [he] comes in,' and Paul said, 'Oh, you should get that choir singing 'Desperado.'" It wasn't just any choir Rudd had in mind, either, but a children's choir. Judging by the vocals heard in the episode, the cover of the classic song by Eagles came from The Langley Schools Music Project, which posted a version of the song to YouTube back in 2013. How Rudd knew about this bizarre cover is anyone's guess, but the comedian thought it would be the perfect fit for Gene's utterly over-the-top theatrical "interview" with Vanity Fair.

"That was Paul Rudd's pitch," Hader confirmed, "And I called him after we cut it, and I was like, 'Dude, it's so funny.' And he goes, 'Oh, does it work?' and I go, 'Oh my God, it is so funny. Thank you so much.'" The filmmaker went on to explain that he initially pictured more traditional theater-going music, and cites the score from "To Kill a Mockingbird" as an example. "You know, the kind of music that's playing when you come into a theater and the lights go down," Hader explained. But Rudd, who it should be noted doesn't even work on this show and seems to have been just chatting with Hader when the idea came up, knew exactly what the situation called for.

Gene's ego is on full display

The filmmaker laughed when he recalled Rudd's pitch, and it's easy to see why. Even the original 1973 version of "Desperado," written by Glenn Frey and Don Henley, would've been hilarious in this context. The narrator of the song is sharing some very heavy wisdom with the titular desperado, who has chosen a tough and lonely path. "You better let somebody love you/Before it's too late," Eagles sings in the soulful tune, and it's the kind of platitude that Gene probably imagines he shared with Barry in the made-up version of this story in which he's the heroic main character.

The lyrics here reveal a total misunderstanding of Barry as a person, with Gene implying -– as he does in the stage show -– that he did everything he could to save the poor soul from his darker impulses. The fact that the song plays out not with Eagles singing, but the voice of a child, makes the whole thing that much funnier. There's an unspoken punchline in the choice to have Gene, clueless and egotistical, play a song in which a young kid pretends to have the world-weary wisdom of a heroic narrator. It's a needle drop that adds yet another layer of absurdity to this story of Hollywood hangers-on trying to squeeze some fame out of a decidedly bleak situation. And apparently, as with so many great things, we somehow have Paul Rudd to thank for it.