Jemaine Clement of the popular HBO series "Flight of the Conchords" has become one of those guys. You know. Women swoon. Men try to imitate his humor and think he's really cool.
But physically speaking, he is not your typical leading man. He is a self-described "ogre" with large lips, squinty eyes, thick black framed glasses and a large head.
Clement, a New Zealand native, admits that wanting attention from girls was possibly a motivation for learning to play guitar for "Conchords." But sexy?
"Well, I think when you pick up a guitar there's an agenda there," Clement said.
Since "Conchords" escalated in popularity, Clement and his co-star, Bret McKenzie, have been widely acknowledged as dubious sex gods, although on Conchords the duo appears more dorky than desirable.
Clement says he and McKenzie are aware they do many "mock sexy songs," but it's meant to be funny. "You're still gyrating your pelvis, though."
"A couple of times we've had condoms thrown on the stage with [phone] numbers on them," he added.
Clement says the sex symbol label originated in the U.S., not his country.
"People like our accent here and in New Zealand we're accent-less," Clement says. "That's one of our main powers here. It's like when Superman goes back to Krypton."
Yet both Clement and his musical partner have shied away from all the increasing fame and attention, describing it as both a "dream come true" and a burden. Surprisingly, Clement says he fell into acting "by accident" and he seems hesitant about being a celebrity.
In a 2008 interview with the U.K.'s Guardian, Polly Vernon asked Clement and McKenzie about their celebrity status and "where they would like that to go."
McKenzie replied, "Away!"
Clement agreed: "Good answer."
Even so, Clement's sex symbol status has been a topic of conversation for years now. In 2008, TV Guide named Clement and McKenzie two of the top 10 most unlikely male sex symbols, and the duo ranked high on Salon.com's 2007 "Sexiest Men Alive" list.
Jemaine Clement Says He's Not a Sex Symbol
Yet when asked if he considers himself a sex symbol, he laughed and replied, "no, definitely not."
Perhaps he is less hesitant to acknowledge the status given his recent marriage to his longtime girlfriend. The two had their first child last year.
When asked what his wife thinks about his newfound popularity, he replied in his signature monotone New Zealand accent: "Oh, I don't tell her about that."
Clement's first Hollywood film, "Gentlemen Broncos," has just reached theaters. His role in it as the pompous Dr. Ronald Chevalier is possibly one of the most unsexy characters ever.
"I think he probably thinks of it as a very serious job even thought he suspects he's just writing about aliens," Clement said of his character, whom he said he agreed to play after some convincing from director Jared Hess.
"I found [the script] really funny," Clement says. "I was a bit new because I hadn't done a film in the States before, and I was a bit nervous about doing a bigger part. But since I'm a fan of Jared's eventually I said I'll do whatever you want to do."
Clement said when Hess decided a comedian would be playing the part, they tweaked the script. Mix in a breathy foreign accent, a puffy turtle neck topped off with a leather vest, Native American jewelry and a Bluetooth earpiece and you've got Dr. Ronald Chevalier.
Clement Fans Turn Out for Austin Premiere
A strikingly diverse array of Clement admirers swarmed the September world premiere of "Gentlemen Broncos" in Austin, Texas.
Two middle-aged women said they attended solely for their love of Clement.
"Love of my life," said Austin resident Cindy Anderson.
Her friend Molly Williams shook her head dreamily. "We bonded over our love for Jemaine Clement."
Film buffs Shannon Howard, 29, and Jamey Sebastinelli, 26, who attended the premiere, said they were not familiar with "Conchords" but were impressed by Clement's character in "Gentlemen Broncos" -- an eccentric, mystical science fiction writer apparently influenced by Native American dress and folklore, astronomy and futuristic nonsense.
Howard and Sebastinelli said they appreciated how Clement looked during his appearance onstage after the screening.
"Maybe it's the glasses?" Howard said.
"He was my favorite actor in the movie," said Sebastinelli. "And he's super-adorable in real life, which I wasn't really expecting. Because in the movie he's kind of funny-looking."