Paul Rudd Recalls Tense Trivial Pursuit Battle With Jon Hamm

The two heartthrobs once matched wits over a girl they both liked

Paul Rudd Jon Hamm
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Paul Rudd, Jon Hamm.
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Quick: Who's the winner in a rumble between Don Draper and Brian Fantana? Apparently that showdown happened in real life – sort of. According to a new Vanity Fair cover story on Mad Men star Jon Hamm, the actor once battled comedy heavyweight Paul Rudd in a game of Trivial Pursuit, with both hoping to win the affections of a young woman (future actress Sarah Clarke). 

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Hamm had previously taken Clarke to prom in high school, but she was later smitten by Rudd (who roomed with Clarke's brother Preston at the University of Kansas). The showdown of wits took place when Rudd came to visit the Clarkes in St. Louis. 

"I thought he was coming to visit me," said Preston, "but obviously he was coming to visit my sister. Hamm was there because he was always at my house. And Paul knew that Jon had taken Sarah to prom. He was slightly intimidated. And then we started playing Trivial Pursuit."

Rudd, understandably so, was a bit overwhelmed to learn that Future Don Draper was not only tall, dark and handsome – but also a history buff. 

"He seemed like a good-looking, athletic guy who possessed qualities I did not possess," Rudd says. "We were playing Trivial Pursuit in teams. Sarah and I were on one team, and Jon and Preston were on the other team. Jon would want to go right to Yellow, which was History, and I was like, 'Oh, great, this guy is smart, too. They would ask a question like 'What is the largest lake in Africa?,' and Jon immediately went, 'Lake Victoria.' I felt so emasculated in the game that, as a result, I started reading atlases."

The two rivals later set aside their weapons of affection and became friends, after Hamm moved from St. Louis to L.A. The piece doesn't mention who won the game, and it only seems just that the two heartthrobs agree to a rematch on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon (#HammRuddRematch).