Nerdy Hot List 2012

It’s been a hard, sleep-deprived week, so I thought I’d do a fun post today. First Impressions should return next week if I get some books with strong openers.

Every year for the past three years, I’ve published a list of 10 nerdy hot celebs as a response to Maxim‘s Hot 100 list, which focuses only on physical perfection. The magazine released its selections a couple weeks ago, so it’s about time I got mine out.

The men chosen here are sexy for being incredibly good at playing goofy or awkward. You can have your Magic Mike beefcake; I’d rather watch these guys in action.

1. Benedict Cumberbatch. He not only manages to bring Sherlock Holmes into the twenty-first century, he makes the detective’s antisocial behavior highly entertaining, leaving fans panting for more.


2. Jean Dujardin. Yes, he has leading-man looks and played a movie star in his Oscar-winning role in The Artist, but George Valentin was also a giant ham, mugging for his audiences and doing tricks with his dog, Uggie. The actor himself is also committed to being silly, as he cameos on Saturday Night Live and “auditions” for these villain roles after winning his big prize.


3. James Marsden. The actor has shown glimpses of buffoonery before as the prince in Enchanted, but lately he’s been holding his own against Tina Fey on 30 Rock as Liz Lemon’s hapless boyfriend Criss. Criss looked like yet another loser at first, but Marsden imbues him with such joy and sweetness that his cluelessness is forgiven. Now I hope he and Liz last for a while, and maybe even have a “plant.”


4. Josh Hopkins. Though he regularly popped up on different drama series, he never left any traction in my consciousness until he showed up on Cougar Town as Grayson. When his character started singing silly songs (many of which the actor says he wrote himself), sometimes accompanying himself on a ukulele, I sat up and paid attention. And realized he’s hot.


5. Matthew Lewis. He played Neville Longbottom, Harry Potter’s awkward, chubby friend, for most of his childhood, and made me cry in the final movie. But when he showed up at the premieres, I realized the little nerdy boy was all grown up.


6. Blake Shelton. He acts reasonably normal as a coach on The Voice, but his goofball side gets unleashed in his crazy Twitter feed, which is filled with “drunk” tweets and TMI about the inner workings of his privates. Sometimes he goes too far, but his unapologetic wackiness gets him nerdy hotness points.


7. Michael Fassbender. He, uh, was kind of nerdy as Carl Jung in A Dangerous Method. Is that reaching a bit? OK, fine, he’s not nerdy at all, but dang it, I wanted to put him on this list, and it’s my blog, so there.

Fassbender as Jung

Fassy all purrrty


8. Max Greenfield. When we first met his character Schmidt on New Girl, any hotness he had was strictly in his mind. There’s a reason his roommates have a douche-bag jar, to which Schmidt seems to contribute the most money. But Greenfield has managed to somehow make Schmidt insecure and sweet beneath the DB exterior, and more importantly, he regularly makes me laugh.


9. Jon Hamm. Yes, he made my very first Nerdy Hot List three years ago, but he has risen to such new heights of ridiculousness recently, I had to put him back on here. Did you see his shirtless, saxophone-playing, hair-weave-wearing cameo in Saturday Night Live‘s 100th digital short? Or his ignorant actor playing a black character in a vintage skit on 30 Rock? He is SO stupid in that. How about his Italian singing in the opening skit of the recent SNL finale, which he did not host? (Mick Jagger did.) The man takes such delight from playing fools, I might as well induct him into the Nerdy Hot List Hall of Fame.

I got to number 10 and realized I didn’t have one more, so I thought I’d open it up to you—who should complete this list??



  • Reply
    Meg Gardiner
    June 15, 2012 at 12:51 am

    Sorry, I got to Fassbender and Jon Hamm and hyperventilated at their nerd hotness, fell over and the computer crashed… where am I?

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      June 15, 2012 at 10:13 am

      Haha! I love that you’re here drooling over Hamm and Fassbender when you’re supposed to be holed up somewhere writing. I need more cowbell!

  • Reply
    jenn aka the picky girl
    June 15, 2012 at 7:18 am

    I’m with Meg. Dayyy-um. And my bro just told me he’s hosting a party (he’s an event planner) where Jon Hamm will be. Excuse me, that couldn’t have happened while I was in town???

    Anyway, I “awwwed” in my head when I got to Schmidt because I love him. I mean, I’m really in love with Nick, but Schmidt. He’s just too cute.

    Can we add Johnny Lee Miller? Because to me, he is such a dork, but I absolutely, positively love him. (Have you ever seen Mansfield Park?)

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      June 15, 2012 at 10:18 am

      Jonny (please allow me to point out there’s no “h”) Lee Miller is a good one! Yes, I have seen MANSFIELD PARK. I’ve mentioned this show before here, but I’d recommend your checking out season one of ELI STONE. I look forward to seeing what he does with Sherlock.

      And what is wrong is your brother not scheduling that Jon Hamm event properly??? Sheesh.

  • Reply
    June 15, 2012 at 8:30 am

    I died at Cumberbatch, so I’m completely worthless.

    I’m with Jenn re: Johnny Lee Miller. He is also going to be Sherlock in Elementary this fall, so he should qualify.

    Ooh, or Nathan Fillion!

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      June 15, 2012 at 10:31 am

      Isn’t it amazing how Cumberbatch has made Sherlock sexy? Despite being a fan of the character for over thirty years, I must say I have NEVER found him hot. Or cool. Until now.

      Nathan Fillion made the list two years ago! He’s only gotten nerdier and hotter recently after this article.

  • Reply
    June 15, 2012 at 9:08 am

    Craig Ferguson. Hot, hilarious, fearless, and geeky as all get out.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      June 15, 2012 at 11:11 am

      He was on the 2010 list. Don’t you remember? Oh, wait…

      • Reply
        June 15, 2012 at 11:20 am

        Yes, “Oh, wait.” I didn’t remember, but now that you post it perhaps I do. See? Just confirming that you have good taste. Though some on this list totally escape me. Like this pic of Cumberbatch, but he creeps me out as Holmes. That hair is just gross. It’s like early Howard Stern.

        And while I love Jon Hamm’s willingness to do ANYTHING, I find him too pretty. He won me over with his silliness, however. Just not sure he fits the geek category.

  • Reply
    June 15, 2012 at 9:36 am

    I agree with Meg. After I calmed down, Aldis Hodge came to mind. He plays nerdy tech geek on Leverage and he plays the violin!

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      June 15, 2012 at 11:12 am

      I don’t watch that show, but I looked him up and he is nerdy hot! And he plays the violin? That qualifies him right there.

  • Reply
    Hira Hasnain
    June 16, 2012 at 2:53 am

    This list is SO damn EPIC! I mean, it’s BEYOND PERFECT!!!! Although I would probably have put Max Greenfield (Schmidt) at the top with Cumberbatch! *sigh* SO swoonworthy! And who woulda THUNK that my chubby hubby Neville would grow up to be such a hottie *le sigh* :O

  • Reply
    Shell Sherree
    June 16, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    Hmmm, I think the nerdy line is being walked thinly by including Jean Dujardin ~ but I understand having ‘adorable clown’ as a nerdy attribute makes all the difference. He can do no wrong in my eyes. {That clip is hilarious!}

    I vote for Jonny Lee Miller, too. Cute ~ definitely cute.

  • Reply
    November 14, 2012 at 11:17 am

    For future lists:
    Seth MacFarlane
    Christian Kane
    Alan Tudyk
    Jensen Ackles
    Jared Padalecki
    Misha Collins
    Jeffrey Dean Morgan
    Dave Giuntoli
    Silas Weir Mitchell
    Simon Baker
    Dule Hill
    James Roday
    Jeremy Sisto


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