Jeff Goldblum And Eccentricity For the Internet Age

With a new jazz album and Disney+ original show in the works, the “Jurassic Park” actor has developed a cult of personality primed for millennial consumption.

Jeff Goldblum I Shouldn't Be Telling You This

In the world of eccentric male celebrities, you are either Jeff Goldblum or Jeremy Renner. The latter, once known for his role as Hawkeye in Marvel’s The Avengers extended universe, has now become synonymous with a bizarre vanity app aptly called The Jeremy Renner App, meant to be a network for avid Jeremy Renner fans to connect and collaborate. The app’s inception and subsequent demise (thanks to trolls and other curious infiltrators) has prompted many questions and memes about Renner’s approach to fame. Some have described the arrow-laden actor as, “What happens when a Dick’s Sporting Goods manager gets an unlimited number of wishes,” which only testifies to the many odd hats that Renner wears beyond his acting career. 

Jeff Goldblum, on the other hand, is arguably much stranger than Renner, but his form of eccentricity is much more Internet-friendly. Where Renner grounds himself in a modest earnestness—often exposing him to ridicule—Goldblum leans into the performative and the absurd. His red carpet reactions make headlines and so do his various side projects, most recently being an upcoming jazz album, I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This. With collabs with Fiona Apple, Sharon Von Etten, and more, his newest LP follows last year’s The Capitol Studio Session.

Although Jeff Goldblum reportedly loves jazz, the genre is especially suited to rich weird people who want to do something serious without it being taken seriously. It’s a genre at home in fancy restaurants and among Berklee college students, but with very little modern day-to-day application. It’s perfect for Jeff Goldblum, a household name thanks to those dinosaur movies who has managed to extend his cultural reach purely on cult charisma alone. 

Like the Jeremy Renner app, no one asked for a Jeff Goldblum jazz album. And yet, unlike the Jeremy Renner app, there will be an audience happy to receive it. That’s Jeff Goldblum’s talent. He markets his quirks to a millennial population in need of an artsy uncle, not quite a paternal figure, and yet possessing a wise, elder confidence that modern twenty-somethings can aspire to. Even the title of the LP, I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This, has the air of a family friend finally letting you in on the familial gossip—the first mark of moving beyond the kids’ table.

Contrast this with another well-known, uniquely beloved eccentric icon, Nicolas Cage, and you see where Cage falls short, careening manically into unpredictable territory. When Goldblum tells you a secret, you trust him. If Cage were to pull you aside at a dinner party, you simply wouldn’t grant him the same confidence—you’d just nod and assure him that you would, in fact, invest in his new cryptocurrency, CageCoins. 

Goldblum’s unique authority and irreverent perspective has also manifested into a forthcoming Disney+ show, The World According to Jeff Goldblum. The show is a collaboration with National Geographic in which Goldblum will explore everything from sneaker culture to 3D imaging to synchronized swimming. The 12-episode series capitalizes on the actor’s aforementioned weird-uncle energy, with a dash of idiosyncratic middle school teacher.

The millennial generation has often been characterized for its inability to grow up, or its preoccupation with childhood nostalgia. Media outlets have eagerly tapped into reboots or other forms of vintage homage, but Goldblum breaks molds by being a noticeably hip old man. He’s no Mr. Rogers; he’s a style icon for the social media age, becoming synonymous with bright printed suits and, of course, his geek-chic thick-framed glasses. Instead of tapping into childhood aesthetics, he instead drives home the need for a chaotic-good ally through life, no matter what your age. He’s a cultural Bill Nye and a multihyphenate who makes sense no matter what project he pursues. Will we reach a Jeff Goldblum saturation point sometime soon? We’ll only know for sure when there’s an app for that.

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