You may not know this, but in certain parts of the Internet, there has been a long-running controversy over just how tall Jake Gyllenhaal is. I am not sure what that says about celebrity culture that a large number of people can get obsessed over the height of a celebrity, but there you go.
It’s not like it’s an argument over a matter of feet or even multiple inches. Jake Gyllenhaal once professed that he was a six feet tall, and this community of people became infatuated with proving — or disproving — that statement. Is he really six feet tall? Or is he a mere 5’10? Or is he 6’1? When standing next to other celebrities with known heights, people would measure him against them to determine the truth.
But no one could nail it.
It’s a silly question, and I bring it to your attention only so that I can promote Starlee Kind’s podcast, Mystery Show again because it’s that exact question she took up this week, after David Rees — who runs an Artisanal Pencil Sharpening service where you can send your pencils in and have them hand-sharpened for only $40 — offered up the mystery.
(Rees is actually a cartoonist and buddy of John Hodgman, and his short film on how to sharpen pencils is one of the funniest things on the Internet.)
You wouldn’t think there’d enough substance in that mystery to devote an entire podcast to it, but you’d be wrong. Kine begins by exploring the “controversy” around Jake Gyllenhaal’s height before turning to her investigation. After a few dead ends, however, she put the call out to the Internet, and a friend of hers eventually tracked Gyllenhaal down in a restaurant, where he was having dinner with his mother.
She asked, “I’m so sorry, I don’t mean to interrupt. I know you’re eating dinner with your family, and I know this is totally strange, but I have to ask, ‘How tall are you?’”
And Jake Gyllenhaal said, “Why does everyone want to know this?”
Gyllenhaal would not, however, provide Kine’s friend with the answer.
Months later, however, the most amazing thing happened: Gyllenhaal agreed to answer the question on the phone with Kine. And he wasn’t a dick about it. In fact, he was just the opposite, proving again why he’s one of the coolest guys in Hollywood. He was flirty and fun, and strung Kine along for a very long time, dropping clues by saying that he’s taller than his older sister, Maggie. He badgered Kine for her height (she’s 4’11). He talked about the relativity of height, about how some days he feels taller than others. He giggled bashfully. And beat around the bush. saying that “I am surprised at myself that I agreed to do this,” and expressing his fears that answering the question would take remove all the mystery.
“I just want you to take a moment before we cross over to the other side,” he said, “and I want you to ask yourself, ‘Are you willing and ready to walk into reality, because this is the end of the journey. No more of the fantasies you’ve been living under. This is where the rubber meets the road. Are you ready?”
And then he answered the question.
But I’m not going to reveal the answer, except to say that it was the best possible answer. You have to listen to The Mystery Show to find out the truth.