What's sexier than a guy-next-door type — the kind of guy who can sport a gray T-shirt, jeans and stubble, and still look hotter-than-hot doing it. Which is why Jake Johnson is perfection as the are-the-or-aren't-they platonic roommate Nick to Zooey Deschanel's Jess in FOX's New Girl. There hasn't been this much sexual tension on a show since Sam and Diane on Cheers.
Jake Johnson seems like the kind of guy we could bump into at a supermarket, in the hallway or at an alumni football game. Can we make that happen please? Because we've got a basket full of produce and no one cute to meet with in Whole Foods.
Born: May 28, 1978
Hometown: Evanston, Illinois
Height: 5' 10"
We like super-chiseled guys with high cheekbones just fine (OK, more than just fine), but Jake has an incredibly compelling everyman appeal. He seems like the kind of childhood BFF you grew up riding bikes with around the neighborhood and then, fast-forward 10 years, and he's a superfox and you fantasize about playing doctor with him in the naughtiest way possible. That's why we think he works so well as nice-guy, beer-loving Nick to nerdy Jess in New Girl.
"I don't think either of them want to date right now... as characters," he told Salon. "If these guys are real people, I don't think either of them are ready to date and be in a serious relationship. In my interpretation, and I'm not a writer, Nick knows he has feelings for her. But he's not going to admit to those because he doesn't want to deal with them. They're both willing to take the chance that the other person is going to fall in love with someone else, but I think that deep down they hope it doesn't happen."
Which is what makes the show so friggin' funny to watch — especially since they've been getting much closer this season (even sharing a kiss). Go for it, Jess!
We dig the comedic vibe of Jake's past projects — from the adorable indie film Paper Heart to his turn as a well-meaning advisor to Ashton Kutcher in No Strings Attached. But perhaps most importantly, he played Aaron Burr in an Upright Citizens Brigade Drunk History video, and it was hysterical.
Also, can we talk about Jake's mustache? We're big fans of his facial hair.
"Here's what I really think about mustaches, and I mean this seriously," he told Complex. "I've been accused of being a hipster by the internet people. They're not directly saying it to me but it's because of the projects that I've done. The reality is, if they knew me, I'm not one. What pisses me off about it is hipsters ruined the mustache! Hey, I grew a mustache for very clear reasons: My dad had one, all my uncles had them. I'm from the Chicago area, and every man who sold cars in commercials had them. Bill Buckner had one, Michael Jordan kind of had one, and they're awesome."
We like a mustache if it's on you, Jake. And we, as "internet people," promise not to call you a hipster.
One thing we love about Jake? He's not one of those guys who spends every waking moment in the gym — he even admitted to Men's Fitness he likes to work out primarily so he could run from a bar fight if he needed to. (Good strategy.) But that doesn't mean he doesn't like to look nice.
"I have my metrosexual moments," he told The Advocate. "I recently tried to pull off a low-cut V-neck to show off my Tommy Selleck chest hair. Zooey was like, 'That's awful.' Then Max said, 'Yeah, V-necks are dead.' I was like, 'What? When did V-necks die?' Since New Girl started, I also work out a lot more, and I'm a way healthier eater. I definitely don't drink as much beer as I used to. Now I'll drink vodka on ice."
We're sorry, what? We were fantasizing about Jake making us a nice, cool vodka drink at the end of a long day.
Sorry, ladies — he's officially spoken for, with a ring and everything. He's been with his wife, artist Erin Payne, for more than seven years. And if that all goes south? In true funnyman style, he has a plan:
"I love my wife. Hopefully I never get divorced," he shared with Men's Fitness. "But if I do, it might be funny. I'll make a reality show about it. It will be called 'Strike Three.' What are the three strikes? Well, you'll have to watch the show."
For your marriage's sake, Jake, we hope that show never airs, but we'd bet it'd be hilarious if it did. On a more serious note, though, he told Access Hollywood that when they first started dating, Hollywood wasn't necessarily beating down his door:
“When we met, I think I had 400 dollars to my name and a disgusting mustache I was trying to grow. So for her, it's just really fun,” he told the show. “I think she's been enjoying the ride.”
That mustache again! We love a guy with a signature accessory.
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