In mid-2022, an unlikely sex symbol has appeared on the horizon: Nathan Fielder. Emblazoned on the front of new York In the magazine’s recent TV issue of Salt-and-Pepper Chest Hair, Fielder stares at the viewer. Testing who breaks the gaze first is a challenge, and it won’t be you. The longer you look into his eyes from across the abyss, the more the ironic image of this famously clumsy comedian as a totemic sex god fades. It’s getting real.
Walking that line between authenticity and deception is de rigueur for fielders. On his cult favorite show Comedy Central Nathan for you Fielder “helped” companies improve their reputations with offbeat, sometimes borderline illegal ideas that rarely worked but always left audiences cringe — and laugh (and maybe a little horny). His deadpan performance and simultaneous striving for friendship endeared him instantly to viewers, while at the same time creating a distance between them – again, it’s that unwavering gaze. Part Sacha Baron Cohen, part Eric Andre, Fielder reinvented a genre by being so inflexibly odd and committed to the part that you can’t help but keep watching just to see what he says or does next.
With his new show The sample, which premieres July 15 on HBO, Fielder once again plays with that immobility and difficulty connecting with other people, which New York says he has Profile, once used magic tricks to deal with it. Exactly like on Nathan for you The concept is simple, but the execution is unnecessarily complex: Fielder helps others rehearse scenes from their own lives over and over again until they get it right. The sample is a study of human behavior whose ultimate conclusion to the viewer is likely to be that the magic of human life cannot be rehearsed.
So: This is Nathan Fielder in general. But what about that innate sexuality? After this new York cover fallen, a person tweeted, “You ask your girl who they would use their celebrity passport for when they’re expecting Michael B. Jordan or Andrew Garfield or something and they always answer like Nathan Fielder.” This tweet received 46,000 likes and partially revealed something deep in the psyche of people who are attracted to men — something the profile itself reckoned with: “There are multiple streams of internet discourse devoted to identifying the source of his inexplicable attractiveness,” it says. “Maybe it’s not so inexplicable. Out in the world he is funny, self-deprecating and successful.”
Society has somewhat conditioned us to believe that people (especially women) only find men desirable who look and act a certain way. These things are often boring, heteronormative, and exclusionary: tall, muscular, successful, preferably not weird and awkward. Things are changing and the recent thirst for Jeremy Allen White as Carmy in The bear is a clearer example. But Nathan Fielder sums up a key truth: There’s something appealing about a person whose attraction is so raw, so innate, so unexpected that we have to spend time trying to figure out what it is.
When I opened up my DMs to Fielder fans, both secret and otherwise, I was greeted with appropriately wacky lines — like “I’d have him kill me as an ironic prank just so I could meet him IRL.” To Carly, 36, her crush is easy. He’s “tall, straight face, demanding, but when he starts laughing you feel like you’re winning,” she tells me. She also finds his “competence” sexy: “The man has spreadsheets, a meticulous inbox, a well-kept car and about four pairs of shoes. This is very beguiling to me
“I think people misunderstand what people who are into damn men are really into,” she adds, before listing: “Nice hands, the way he looks backwards, an interesting mouth, a very secure feeling.” that he might do a parody of Starbucks.”
“I think his voice is a big part of me,” Sio, a twenty-something who describes Nathan as her “number one crush,” tells me. “It’s so comforting. And there’s also something about the kind of confidence that his heightened character evokes Nathan for you has – like the premise is that he’s awkward and underconfident, but the catch is that being willing to make a fool of yourself and be visibly, uncompromisingly socially incompetent is really bold and sexy.
Sio, who says they’ve been attracted to Fielder since the first episode Nathan for you from 2015, describes his energy as “deeply sexually magnetic”. While his receding hairline and hairy chest are part of the draw, it’s that bewildering confidence and unwavering calm that seals the deal for Sio, who otherwise finds himself drawn to other cringe artists. They also pick up on something else: being while Nathan for you Character seems to be an exaggeration of his true personality, this feeling of insecurity and uneasiness seems to come from something real in him.
Somehow, where his real and on-screen personalities collide is where that attraction lies.
I once saw Fielder “out in the world,” on the stage at a comedy festival. He was confident and laughed with his friends (Not outside the frame) and wears differently than on screen. That weirdness shimmering beneath the surface is still there, but it’s almost uncanny real man. He showed the audience some of his favorite YouTube videos, including one of a man who acquired his great-grandmother’s body to keep in his garden. In the video – eerily quiet, far too long – the man explains his choice and kisses the corpse of his great-grandmother. It’s way too stretched out, way too creepy, and it feels like an intrusion just to see it. That’s where Fielder’s disarming stage presence came into play as he watched us watch this video, delighted that he could pull that gag off and knowing we wouldn’t just walk away. His secret is that what he does never flinches enough to make people stop watching and loving him.
But love remains elusive for the Nathan Fielder character himself. On Nathan for you An undercurrent of the plot is Fielder’s search not only for friendship but also for affection. He tries to hang out with business owners, starts one Bachelor-style competition and embarks on a quasi-relationship more awkward than any of his other interactions. There’s a dichotomy in the game where a viewer who has a crush on him thinks, “I’m going to give you this love! let me save you!”
But the real Fielder doesn’t need to be rescued to beg for love. The tide turns and a chorus of voices sings that he might Got it. It’s Nathan Fielder summer.