Fellas of the Year
I’ll let you all behind the curtain a little bit—what’s the harm? Sometimes it’s fun to drop the artifice, allow you cretins a peek into our mind palaces of mirth and whimsy. Here’s the deal: I had a whole thing planned for this week with the frat guy, where he was going to do his top 10 lists for the year, mostly because it’s Dec. 30 and I usually do one (1) frat guy newsletter a year and one (1) “Best Of” newsletter a year. They always vary in quality (mostly effort), but I can promise you this: today you’re getting neither of those things.
I didn’t have time to really think about it (I did, but I just chose to use my time differently, I guess); following the naming system (Word that starts with a “C” + 2K2_) required too much planning or creativity (Creativity…now there’s a “C” word…); and whatever goodwill I harbor towards this whole thing we do is outflanked by the idea that it’s funnier to me to not do it. I don’t care enough to keep a three-year tradition going—it would be much more in keeping with our Easy Rider, devil-may-care spirit for me to forget about it. Far be it from me to reveal the real secret sauce (that everything we do here is carefully planned and scheduled, and we actually take it as seriously as death itself).
So with that said, here’s what you’re getting today: another ranking from Nabeel. Another list. Another thing that’s broken up into small blocks of text headed by bolded titles. Goddamn—can he do anything else? Is he capable of something more artfully considered or structured? Can he even imagine another format with which to explore his pet obsessions?
No. I can’t. Today I reaffirm my commitment to heterosexual culture by ranking the Top 10 Dudes of the Year—the world, it seems, needs this more than ever. We’ve never needed anything more than this. In many ways, 2023 could be categorized as The Year of the Fella. Anno Homie. Boys Season.
I’m doubling down here because I’ve sensed a general permission within the culture at large—celebrating your standard-issue, straight-up, down-home Dude is not as controversial today as it may have been in, say, 2016. That whining, needling little sound you heard, this whole year? That was all the Fellas peeking out from beneath our IKEA Puderviva discount linen sheets, ready to reenter the world after years of hibernation. I am Dude—hear me roar.
10. Sir Ridley Scott / The Hon. Michael Mann
This one’s a toss-up because I haven’t seen Ferrari yet, and I’m including the Big Homie Mike here because he’s done so much for us already. But I have to give the nod, as of Dec. 29, 2023 to That Gawd Ridley for the year—Napoleon was made for us, and I also finally saw the Kingdom of Heaven: Director’s Cut this year. And with who else, but a couple of fellas.
9. This Tweet
I hate being the guy that keeps talking about tweets (God), but this one is just too good. There’s no specific Homie here that we can hang our hat on, but the entire premise/video/ethos/360-degree pan is a perfect encapsulation of what we’re talking about today. It’s unimpeachable.
8. Connor Stalions
I don’t want to speak to his alleged transgressions. All I can say is he committed hard for the Boys in Blue, and we can’t overlook that. He started an LLC. That’s just commendable.
7. Dude I met who goes by “John the Man”
Met this dude at a #pub in Dubin who—no judgment—had an insane top half to bottom half weight distribution. I saw him take down at least four pints of Guinness, and his blue polo simply said, “John the Man.” We hit it off, and I learned that he’s a tour guide who hosts walking tours of Howth and genuinely goes by John the Man. We listened to some live music together before he followed me to go take a piss and then he said, “Welcome to the trough, Nibble” as we both pissed. Salute, brother.
6. Walton Goggins
We’re not taking his ass for granted anymore. This is MJ-level stuff he’s giving us, year after year. Don’t come crying to me when he’s gone.
5. Aaron Tichenor
4. My man at Discount Shoe Repair
It wasn’t always like this. In fact, if you had come to me a mere three months ago, I would have put this mf in the running for Top 10 WORST Fellas of the Year…
Here’s what happened: I notice my Doc Martens 1460s are a taking a beating in the Syracuse winter. I look down—the heel is peeling off. Fuck! I ask around, where can I get this fixed, is there a local cobbler whose small business I can patronize, etc., and I’m lead to this Italian man who runs a placed called “DISCOUNT SHOE REPAIR.”
Back in March, when I walk in carrying my Doc Martens 1460s, dude takes one look at them—doesn’t even touch them—and hits me with, “Nothing I can do boss.”
Nothing you can do?
I spend months fuming, cursing his name (I don’t know his name). Then I decide to give it one more shot, let him cool off for a bit.
I return to his establishment in November, not even referencing our past encounter, at 4:45 p.m., 15 minutes before closing time. He shakes his head, equivocates, then tells me to come back in 20 minutes. Dude charges me $15. The sole is glued back together like it’s brand new. And reader—my soul is glued back together.
Shoutout to the Homie at Discount Shoe Repair. We repaired something much more important that day.
3. Jack Lowden
Here’s Jack Lowden in Slow Horses:
Here’s Jack Lowden as Kenneth Noye in The Gold:
Two of the best shows of the year, and the homie is, as the critics say, EMINENTLY WATCHABLE. I love this dude. I hope he works forever.
2. The Duke
You gotta watch this. I don’t think I’ve laughed more at anything this year. Watch this and tell me The Duke didn’t immediately vault himself into the Hall of Fame. You think it’s his unorthodox swing, the most fucked up looking thing I’ve seen on a golf course in some time, or maybe his outfit, complete with 5/6-length cargos (?) and a White Durag. It’s not just that. It’s when my man hits the shuffle. That’s what sealed the deal. “Should I start shufflin’?” Yeah, Duke. Go ahead, Duke.
1. Emma Stone
A curious choice, you might think? You might be asking, Is this one of those “Guy’s Girl” type of things? Is Nabeel just into the raspy voice?
Stop. I’m not that shallow. The truth is, in a late-year surge, A-list actress Emma Stone has emphatically claimed the crown of Fella of the Year. And how did she do so? By starring in a TV show.
She’s also great in Poor Things, sure, but what she’s pulling off in The Curse is nothing short of awe-inspiring. I don’t even know if I can describe it fully, because I’m actually not smart about acting or technique or whatever, and I’m more of a Vibes guy when it comes to performances. The vibes on this one are off the charts, though. If you’re on the fence because of the Nathan Fielder of it all, I submit to you this: Emma Stone will make you even more uncomfortable.
Dude in Chiang Mai who lead us on a fateful trek in the forest / Boat tour guide in Phuket who went by “Koko Loko” / Polish Homie in Hanoi named Kuba: All these Boys provided invaluable experiences for me this year. Can’t knock that.
Stephen Curry: For the umpteenth year in a row, mans put up a historic performance for Dude of the Year. Second-round playoff exit and current team leadership issues kind of killing the vibe though.
Matt Damon: I mean why not? He’s always looking out for us. Oppenheimer? Air? Our Number One Homie here is still putting in the work.
Dude who captured the video of the Delta Diarrhea flight: Based on just one submission, this man put himself into contention. I can’t speak to his whole body of work for 2023, though, and that makes it difficult to slot him into the rankings proper.
These Guys: Too easy.
Max Park, Rubik’s Cube World-Record Holder:
Just give it up for this Dude. The vibes in that room must have been fucking sick. Unreal stuff, Brother.
Dudes I Will NOT Be Shouting Out
40 Chickens in 40 Days Guy: Trying too hard. Basically begging for people to induct him into the Fellas HOF. You don’t eat a whole rotisserie chicken once a day for 40 days in Philly unless you have ulterior clout-chasing motives.
That Adam Jockle Kid / The Kid That Ate Indian Food For the First Time: I want to believe in these guys, but I have an aversion to rewarding Fellas like these. The story is all too familiar—one viral video leads these Guys on a short, dark road that culminates in bizarre brand deals. I’m sure that Adam guy is making content for Abercrombie now or something and LukeFoods is probably going to end up in a marketing video for Sonic Drive-In. Besides, they’re just taking the Jeremy Fragrance/TheReportOfTheWeek playbook and running with it—pay some respect to the ancestors.
OceanGate Submersible guy or whatever you guys want: What do you think this is, a joke?
Don Draper / George Costanza / Whoever else you clowns decided to latch onto in 2023: Some of you are new to this game, not true to this game. Don’t come to me in fucking 2023 talking all this, “George Costanza subplot vibes” this, “I’m on my Don Draper shit fr” that—I don’t take this shit lightly. I need to know you’re here to stay.
My favorite dude this year? It’s the Henry Kissinger for me, fam!!