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The Secret to John Mulaney’s Effortlessly Hot Look

Is it the glasses? The cuffed sleeve? The scruff? The perfectly fitted black tee? Either way, we’re lusting over the comedian in a way we never have before

For years, the comedic world was at peace. We had our hot queers, like Jaboukie Young-White and Joel Kim Booster. We had our hot bros, courtesy of Andy Samberg and Bo Burnham. And we had our not-so-hot but wholesome dads like Tony Hale and John Mulaney. But this week Mulaney gave us a tease of his unknown biceps and fucked up the hot-comic hierarchy.

One Instagram post was all it took: a black-and-white photo of Mulaney and Samberg in the green room of Late Night With Seth Meyers. What was his intention with this photo? Unclear. Maybe to highlight his friendship with Samberg and promote his upcoming skit on Meyers’ show? Or maybe to remind the thirsty internet that he’s the hottie in Sack Lunch Bunch, not Jake Gyllenhaal.

Either way, I’m faced with the sudden realization that Mulaney has been hiding a hot man under those tailored suits. Our dandy dad is really a hunky daddy.

Just look at the photo. Mulaney, who recently starred in an adorable Netflix special Sack Lunch Bunch with a cadre of kids, is serving biceps and little a chest under a basic black T-shirt.

Why is this particularly grainy photo of Mulaney so hot? The squinting eyes and a little bit of stubble help turn Mulaney into the DILF of 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

But like a good haircut, facial hair and bedroom eyes can only enhance what you’re already working with — and Mulaney is working with more than we realized. Much like with Adam Brody’s scumbro style, we’re not used to seeing celebrities dress like us normies. “It’s a perfect example of the casual attractiveness that you see in everyday life,” Chris Leach, 18, says. “It’s candid, which makes it so much more attractive and human.”

Comedians have a bad reputation when it comes to style. While their female colleagues are expected to be conventionally hot and put together well enough to turn looks on the red carpet, funny men have a much lower standard to meet. Hell, Adam Sandler and Kevin James have made multimillion-dollar careers out of dressing like shit.

But Mulaney never bought into this trope. With his preppy golf course style, Mulaney epitomizes a modern-day millennial-dad ideal with dad jokes and Midwestern humility to back it up. Mulaney, whose comedy often derives from his Irish-Catholic childhood in Chicago, is decidedly the M in a game of F, M, K.

Sure, six-foot Mulaney was always cute in that way lanky men are by default, but he was never — how do I put this? — smoldering. Mulaney always looked reliably proper and nonthreatening, like a clean-cut little kid at Christmas Mass.

Today, though, we’re all Samberg — himself looking like a hot professor in the photo — gloriously eyeing Mulaney in his perfectly fitted black T-shirt with the sleeves slightly cuffed.

“It’s the cuffed sleeves, the candid expressions, the somewhat shy hands-in-pockets body language, the glasses for sure, and the not-too-perfect-but-still-handsome grooming,” Brock McGoff, founder of fashion site The Modest Man, tells MEL.

Our lust for the photo is also a testament to the power of a well-fitted T-shirt. “That’s what black T-shirts are good at,” Yang-Yi Goh, a style commerce writer for GQ, tells me. “It makes everybody look a little bit better. It especially works if you’re a person hiding biceps the way John Mulaney clearly has been.”

Who would have thought 2020 would be the year Mulaney successfully pulls off normcore? If anything, it’s proof that a well-suited man isn’t necessarily his best look. “Goes to show that attraction doesn’t require dressing up, perfect grooming and expensive designer labels,” McGoff says.

Maybe we can all agree Mulaney is hot, but don’t bother fighting for the first spot in line at his next performance. That’s reserved for writer Caroline Moss. A long-time Mulaney stan, Moss — children’s book author and the host of podcast Gee Thanks, Just Bought It! — tells MEL, “John Mulaney has always been a beautiful, beautiful man, and anyone who needed a black-and-white photo of him in glasses to realize it doesn’t deserve him! John, call me.”