?Recently here on Topless Robot, I wrote a Daily List on 11 Awesome Celebrity Nerds that examined the geeky tendencies of a diverse assortment of famous folks. This caused many of you to flex your Internet muscles and point out what stars you felt the article shafted. I hear you loud and clear. Because a mere 11 entries weren’t enough to pay tribute to all of the growing legion of nerds who make their living in Hollywood — and to make reparations to the Felicia Day obsessives amongst you — this sequel list was carefully crafted.
A quick note before we begin, you’ll notice that this list is devoid of athletes, musicians and directors. This was a conscious choice, as these types could easily merit their own lists. Instead, the decision was made to focus on actors, comedians and one especially noteworthy politician. The people featured here may have varying degrees of fame, but they are united by a shared love for awesome things like comics, videogames, role-playing, etc. Basically, the stuff that makes life worth living. With that bit of business out of the way, let’s begin!
11) Brian Posehn
The impressively bearded comedian/The Sarah Silverman Program (R.I.P.) co-star possesses the requisite knowledge of comics and D&D, but he’s also a huge music geek. Metal is his preferred genre of choice, which makes his professed love of Metalocalypse‘s faux band, Dethklok, all the more impressive. His list of credits makes him seem like a true nerd Renaissance man. Check it: His debut album, Live In: Nerd Rage, featured guest appearances by Anthrax’s Scott Ian and Mr. Show‘s Titannica. He co-starred in the failed Super Nerds pilot with Patton Oswalt. And let’s not forget that he had the honor of conducting the marriage ceremony between Reed Richards and Sue Storm in the cinematic train wreck that was Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. A geeky feat to be sure, just one he probably shouldn’t brag about.
10) Donald Faison
Donald Faison is best known for his work on the sitcom Scrubs, but his heart belongs to a galaxy far, far away. His most famous declaration of his love for Star Wars came on a May 2009 installment of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in which he debuted The Chronicles of Lando, a fun stop-motion Lego short that would make the perfect companion show to Robot Chicken (for which he regularly provides voices). His devotion to the charming rogue makes me suspect that there was no acting involved in the following clip:
See? There’s no word yet if Faison will be involved with Seth Green/Lucasfilm’s Star Wars comedy show, but if he isn’t there should be a nerd uprising.
9) Nathan Fillion
Captain Mal Reynolds is a secretly a Jedi Knight? Is it Fan Fiction Friday already? Nathan Fillion’s above lightsaber story proves his penchant for nerdery, but did you know that he has the distinction of being adored by two equally obsessive fanbases? The sci-fi nerds love him for Firefly and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog and soap opera fans fondly recall his days in Llanview as Joey Buchanan on One Life to Live. I’ll leave it to you to decide which group is worse.
8) Vin Diesel
Dungeons & Dragons players, there’s some good news and some bad news for you. The good news is that a high-profile celebrity frequently discusses his love for D&D, thereby giving the pastime some legitimacy in the eyes of mainstream America and the media. The bad news is that the celebrity doing the endorsing is best known for stupid films with stuff blowing up real good. No one said the plight of an RPG fan is an easy one.
7) Aisha Tyler
Highlighted by Aisha Tyler’s humming music from Halo, this clip demonstrates the actress and comedienne’s love for gaming. This is cool, but not especially nerdy in an age where just about everyone has some gaming console in their home. Now a cappella singing? That’s truly worthy of a merit badge in geekery. While in college, Tyler was one of the founding members of The Dartmouth Rockapellas, an all-female a cappella group whose painfully unhip music is currently in vogue thanks to Glee and a misguided solo album by Ben Folds. So let’s just say that Tyler is a nerd for many reasons, some more entertaining than others.
6) Felicia Day
When I neglected to include actress (and World of Warcraft fanatic) Felicia Day on my previous list, lots of you magnificent readers were quick to tell me what I jerk I was for leaving her out. Message received. Through her work on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Guild and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog she has earned a dedicated fanbase…as well as some detractors who just don’t get what all the fuss is about. Like Bruce Campbell, an actor she seems to be the female equivalent of, Day possesses the savvy to continually please her devotees through great self-promotion and left-of-center career choices. Her dedication to playing the Hollywood game while steadily building up an audience on her terms is pretty impressive, whether you give a shit about her career or not.
5) Howard Stern
Howard Stern once stated that any movie would be improved by having Spider-Man in it. That completely accurate idea on how to save the motion picture industry is just one of countless nerdy statements that have been made by the iconic shock jock. His commitment to outsider pursuits reaches back to his youth, when he was a member of the psychedelic-tinged garage band The Electric Comic Book. As his radio career progressed, so did his desire to branch out into movies and TV. Perhaps his most notorious stab at courting fandom came was his would-be superhero, Fartman. Although the project was eventually shelved and his attempts at animated shows — the post-apocalyptic comedy Doomsday and the autobiographical Howard Stern: The High School Years — never came to fruition, Stern remains a staunch supporter of comics and superhero films. Over the years he has frequently dedicated airtime to guests ranging from Kevin Smith to Joe Quesada. Since the release of Iron Man, Jon Favreau has been a guest on Stern’s Sirius/XM show several times, and let’s not forget that George Takei has occasionally makes guest announcer appearances. Realizing that a good chunk of his audience would rather hear about lesbians than Spidey, Stern gave cohorts Jon Hein (of “Jump the Shark” fame) and Ralph Cirella their own Geek Time show on his Howard 101 station. The program regularly features genre A-listers and passionate discussions on everything from Lost to San Diego Comic Con. Stern’s willingness to encourage such dorky discourse coupled with his no-holds-barred conversations about his own geeky likes illustrates that he is more than just the King of all Media, he is one of us.
4) Mark Hamill
There probably isn’t another working actor whose filmography is as impressively geeky as Mark Hamill’s. Even removing Luke Skywalker from the equation and his IMDB page reads like a fanboy’s wet dream. From playing The Trickster on the goofy-but-fun The Flash series to voicing the Joker in numerous Batman cartoons and games, Hamill’s CV is loaded with genre appearances that are pure win. The beautiful thing is that these aren’t just gigs for Hamill, he is genuinely a sci-fi and comics fan. His 2004 directorial debut, Comic Book: The Movie, was a valentine to fandom and his next big project is the long-gestating movie adaptation of his comic, The Black Pearl. Hamill has often been criticized for never being able to escape from the shadow of a certain Jedi, but for most fans the question has always been why would he even want to?
3) Stephen Hawking
He’s one of the smartest dudes who ever lived, his theories have helped shape contemporary science and he regularly freaks interviewers out by stating that if we ever meet aliens the ETs will annihilate us. These are all worthwhile things. However, since I am a dopey galoot who is more concerned with sending away for that new missile-firing Boba Fett than the complexities of physics, Hawking impressed me most by hanging with Data and having enough of a sense of humor about himself to appear on The Simpsons and Futurama.
2) Stephen Colbert
Bravery is not a character trait most nerds possess, but alas, Stephen Colbert is not most nerds. His most daring moment came when he gave a speech at the 2006 White House Correspondents’ Associates Dinner. What was expected to be the centerpiece in an evening of safe comedy and self-congratulation was transformed into a ballsy skewering of the Bush administration as well as the media. That celebration of free speech cemented Colbert in the hearts of comedy nerds everywhere. At the risk of getting too political, it’s probably best to mention at this point that he also knows a thing or two about wielding a lightsaber:
Regular viewers of The Colbert Report are often treated to impressive acts of nerdery, be it in the form of Colbert calling CNN on the carpet for their libeling of Balrogs or the show’s too-infrequent green screen challenges. (Which have featured nerdy music acts The Decembrists and The Apples in Stereo). Colbert also achieved every nerd’s dream of creating a superhero when his Tek Jansen comic was first published in 2007. It’s no Dazzler, but it’s pretty good.
1) Barack Obama
?The leader of the free world once collected Spider-Man and Conan the Barbarian comics. Democrat, Republican or Independent, you have to agree that is truly wonderful.