Ryan Reynolds, Rob McElhenney Have Polyps Removed After Colonoscopies

Actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, who together in November 2020 bought the Welsh soccer club Wrexham AFC, released a video on September 13 documenting colonoscopies they underwent, during which cancer-causing polyps were found and removed.

The video begins with the two Americans saying they filmed the procedures after Reynolds made a bet with McElhenney that he couldn’t learn how to speak Welsh. McElhenney then switches from English to Welsh, demonstrating that Reynolds had lost the bet, and explains that Reynolds “was so sure” he would win that he agreed to broadcast his own colonoscopy to the public if he lost. However, cameras also filmed McElhenney as he went for a screening.

Reynolds, speaking in English, says both he and McElhenney had recently turned 45 — the age at which the CDC says people should begin regular screenings for polyps, which are abnormal clumps of tissue that grow on the lining of the colon and which can later develop into colon cancer.

Reynolds received his colonoscopy at NYU Langone Health in New York City, where doctors told him they found and removed one polyp. McElhenney was screened at a hospital in Los Angeles and had three polyps removed, doctors told him.

The two actors produced the video to support Lead From Behind, a campaign led by colon-cancer survivor Brooks Bell of the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, according to a press release.

At the end of the video, the pair urged viewers to ask doctors about getting a colonoscopy, and emphasized that colon cancer is entirely preventable as long as people are screened early on. Credit: LEAD FROM BEHIND/Maximum Effort via Storyful

Video transcript

ROB MCELHENNEY: Hey, Ryan, should we do this?

RYAN REYNOLDS: Let's do this.


RYAN REYNOLDS: Hello there. I'm Ryan Reynolds, co-chairman of the Welsh football club, Wrexham AFC.

ROB MCELHENNEY: And I am Rob McElhenney, also co-chairman of the Welsh football club, Wrexham AFC.

RYAN REYNOLDS: At the heart of all sports is competition. And Rob and I, I think-- well, we're pretty competitive guys.

ROB MCELHENNEY: We're so competitive, in fact, that last year, Ryan and I made a bet.

RYAN REYNOLDS: Did we? I don't remember that.


RYAN REYNOLDS: Oh, you picked some up. Good.


RYAN REYNOLDS: Yes. Yes, I did. Rob and I both-- we turned 45 this year, and part of being this age is getting a colonoscopy. It's a simple step that could literally-- and I mean, literally-- save your life.

ROB MCELHENNEY: So can we see it now?


I would never normally of any medical procedure put on camera, and then shared.

Good morning.

It's not every day that you can raise awareness about something that will most definitely save lives.

- Going up.


That's enough motivation for me to let you in on a camera being shoved up my [BLEEP]

JONATHAN LAPOOK: Ryan? It's the first time you've had a colonoscopy.



RYAN REYNOLDS: [BLEEP] filming it.

JONATHAN LAPOOK: You're filming it, which--

RYAN REYNOLDS: Which is also just awful.

JONATHAN LAPOOK: The procedure itself doesn't take long. We're talking, 30 minutes, something like that. It's stunningly effective.

RYAN REYNOLDS: I'm going to eat a Graham cracker.

JONATHAN LAPOOK: You did such a good prep, that I was able to find an extremely subtle polyp that was on the right side of your colon. This was potentially life-saving for you. I'm not kidding. I'm not being overly dramatic.


JONATHAN LAPOOK: I mean, this is exactly why you do this, OK? You had no symptoms.


JONATHAN LAPOOK: All right, man.


JONATHAN LAPOOK: I'm thrilled.

RYAN REYNOLDS: Thank you so much for this. Seriously, thank you for pushing me to do this. I can't believe you pumped all that aviation gin into my IV. I was out like light.

JONATHAN LAPOOK: This is the polyp. I just cut it off with the snare, and it's gone. You are interrupting the natural history of a disease, of something of a process that could have ended up developing into cancer, and causing all sorts of problems.

Instead, you're not only diagnosing the polyp, you're taking it out, so nobody would know that they had this. But he reached the age of screening-- 45. He got a routine screening. And there you go, and that's why people need to do this. They really need to do this. This saves lives, pure and simple.

RYAN REYNOLDS: They didn't find rosebud up there? My rosebud was a sled I shoved up my [BLEEP] when I was a kid. So--

ROB MCELHENNEY: Oh, that didn't seem so bad.

RYAN REYNOLDS: Do you want to broadcast yours?


RYAN REYNOLDS: Well, too bad, [BLEEP] Because we filmed it.

ROB MCELHENNEY: Those were your cameras?

- All right, 98 on the dot. All good.

ROB MCELHENNEY: Thank you. Just sit here? Can I sit here to fill this out? He's not listening. I figure I can't go wrong, in terms of comparing myself to Ryan. They either find nothing, and that means my colon was cleaner than his, or they find a polyp.

All set.

And it's either bigger than his, which is awesome, or it's smaller than his, which means I had less of an opportunity to have cancer. Either way, I win.

How are you?

LEO TREYZON: I'm doing great. Basically, this test, a colonoscopy test, is the gold standard test for the prevention of colon cancer. So we think that colon cancer is a 100% preventable disease if healthy people get their periodic tests. We'll get started in a little bit.

ROB MCELHENNEY: OK, thank you.

- I started watching your show. I love it.

ROB MCELHENNEY: Oh, which one?

- "Welcome to Wrexham"?

ROB MCELHENNEY: Oh, yeah. Thank you.

- Hi, you're all done. You're in recovery now.

ROB MCELHENNEY: That was so easy.

- Good. How do you feel?

ROB MCELHENNEY: I feel great.

- Good. Can you lay on your back for me?


- Thank you. Can I get you water or apple juice?

ROB MCELHENNEY: Uh, how's my hair?

- Beautiful. You have the hat still on. Can I take it off?


- OK. There you go. Do you want a mirror?

ROB MCELHENNEY: No. Thank you. I'm not-- I'm not vain. I'm not va-ain. Biscuits!

- Graham crackers, apple juice.

LEO TREYZON: So first of all, I have no bad news, only good news. And that is that today, we found three polyps. They were small. They were not a big deal, but certainly a good thing that we found them early and removed them.

Because you did such a great job with a clean-out, it was spotless inside. You crushed it, and you made the job really easy for us that way.

ROB MCELHENNEY: So is there anything that I can do from a preventative-- like, I can lower--

LEO TREYZON: Right now, I don't think in polyp formers, that there is strong evidence that a certain kind of diet makes a difference. What does make a difference is screening and surveillance, to getting in on time is the key.

ROB MCELHENNEY: You made it so, like, so easy, so amazing. The staff has been incredible all the way through the process.

LEO TREYZON: I'm really happy to have you. Congrats.

ROB MCELHENNEY: Thank you. Thank you so much.

LEO TREYZON: I'll see you-- I'll see you in a couple of years, too.

ROB MCELHENNEY: Absolutely amazing. Thank you.

RYAN REYNOLDS: Well, it didn't seem so bad.