Meet Jón Gnarr, mayor of Iceland’s biggest city.
While politics brings out the cynic in all of us, Gnarr is a refreshing dose of real. Here’s why.
1. Before politics, Gnarr was a comedian, actor and a bass player in a punk band called “Runny Nose”.
That is Gnarr on the right. Presumably, this is him as a comedian and not as the punk rocker.
2. He overcame learning disabilities.
As a kid, Gnarr spent time in a children’s psychiatry ward. He was misdiagnosed with severe mental retardation, and then accurately diagnosed with dyslexia, certain learning difficulties and ADHD.
And as we can see, there is absolutely nothing wrong with him.
At age 11, Gnarr refused to learn anymore, as he thought that school served no purpose to his future as a circus clown or pirate (seriously). And at 16, he quit school for good. But he overcame all of this to have a very successful career.
(Yes, this is Gnarr.)
3. In 2009, he founded the Best Party as a joke. And won.
Because all political parties were secretly corrupt, The Best Party promised to be openly corrupt. Members of the Best Party include a who’s who of Iceland’s punk rock scene, promising “more time for punk and less politics”. This is their campaign video.
In his acceptance speech, Gnarr said, “No one has to be afraid of the Best Party because it is the best party. If it wasn’t, it would be called the Worst Party or the Bad Party”. Makes sense to me.
4. Free towels.
The Best Party’s campaign promises included free towels in all swimming pools, a new Disneyland, a drug-free Parliament by 2020 and a polar bear for the Reykjavík Zoo.
And who wouldn’t want that?
5. He might be a Jedi.
Which is confusing, considering he also sent out a Christmas message as Darth Vader.
6. He ruled out a coalition government with any party that has not seen all five seasons of “The Wire”.
He really likes that show.
7. He is a hands-on leader.
8. He dresses in drag for the Gay Pride parade.
9. He knows what he’s talking about.
Despite entering politics as a joke, Gnarr’s opinions are highly respected. A poll found that Reykjavík citizens ranked Gnarr as the country’s “most honourable politician,” some 10 percentage points higher than the prime minister.
Gnarr protested the Chinese government’s treatment of human rights activist Liu Xiaobo; he is a major supporter of LGBQT rights; he wants Iceland to be less reliant on the global capitalism that collapsed the economy in 2008 (and take those responsible to court); he wants a more direct democracy; and, he strongly advocates for complete equality of the sexes.
Jón Gnarr, we salute you.