Jón Gnarr

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This is an Icelandic name. Gnarr is a middle name, and Kristinsson is a patronymic. This person is properly referred to by the given names Jón or Jón Gnarr.
Jón Gnarr
20th Mayor of Reykjavík
In office
15 June 2010 – 16 June 2014
Preceded by Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir
Succeeded by Dagur B. Eggertsson
Personal details
Born (1967-01-02) 2 January 1967 (age 48)
Reykjavík, Iceland
Political party Best Party
Bright Future
Spouse(s) Jóhanna Jóhannsdóttir
Children 5
Religion Atheist, Agnostic

Jón Gnarr Kristinsson (Icelandic pronunciation: [ˈjouːn ˈknarː]; born 2 January 1967)[note 1] is an Icelandic actor, comedian, and politician who served as the Mayor of Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland, from 2010 to 2014.[1] Born Jón Gunnar Kristinsson, Jón legally changed his middle name in 2005 to the way his mother pronounced it when he was a boy. He prefers to be addressed as Jón Gnarr as he does not wish to carry his father's name. Under national law overseen by the Icelandic Naming Committee, he has not been allowed to legally drop "Kristinsson" from his name as seen on his passport.[2][3]

He was a well-known comedian and actor starting in the 1990s, including teaming with Sigurjón Kjartansson as the duo Tvíhöfði on radio and television. In 2009, he formed the Best Party, a political party that began as political satire but quickly turned into a real political player due to its electoral successes, which were perceived to be a reaction to the 2008–11 Icelandic financial crisis.

Early years[edit]

Jón Gnarr was misdiagnosed with severe intellectual disability as a child and was treated between the ages of five and seven at the children's psychiatry ward at the State Hospital at Dalbraut, Reykjavík. He suffered from dyslexia and had learning difficulties as a child. Jón Gnarr recounts these experiences in his book The Indian, an autobiographical account of his childhood. Jón Gnarr has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and has actively discussed his life with ADHD publicly, participated in conventions on ADHD and published articles about his experiences living with ADHD.

Jón was known as Jónsi Punk as a teenager and played bass in a punk band called Nefrennsli ("Runny Nose").[4] While attending a number of high schools, he didn't complete the university entrance exam, Stúdentspróf.[5] As a young man, he held jobs with car maker Volvo and drove a taxi in Reykjavík.[6] During the 1980s Jón and his future wife, Jóhanna Jóhannsdóttir, became acquainted with the members of the Reykjavík-based alternative rock band the Sugarcubes, including Björk Guðmundsdóttir and Einar Örn Benediktsson. Björk remained a close friend to Jóhanna, dedicating a song to her on her 1997 album Homogenic,[7] while Einar would prove to be an important political ally to Jón in the years to come.

Performance career[edit]

In 1994, Jón teamed up with Sigurjón Kjartansson to form the radio duo Tvíhöfði. In 1997, he joined TV station Stöð 2 where he wrote and starred in several seasons of the Icelandic comedy show Fóstbræður. His best known movies are The Icelandic Dream and A Man like Me. His stand-up comedy show Ég var einu sinni nörd (I Used To Be a Nerd) is autobiographical. In 2004 he wrote, starred and produced a short film, The Man On the Back. Jón worked as a creative writer and actor at the Icelandic advertising agency EnnEmm, producing several popular TV ads. He played Georg Bjarnfreðarson on the television series Næturvaktin (Night Shift), Dagvaktin (Day Shift) and Fangavaktin (Prison Shift). He was also a co-writer in the series, which introduced a number of new actors. In 2009 he starred in the feature film Bjarnfreðarson, which endeared him even further to the Icelandic public.

Jón is a member of Félag íslenskra leikara (Icelandic Actors Guild) and Félag leikskálda og handritshöfunda (Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild).

Entry into politics[edit]

In late 2009 Jón formed the Best Party with a number of other people who had no background in politics, including Einar. The Best Party, which is a satirical political party that parodies Icelandic politics and aims to make the life of the citizens more fun,[8] managed a plurality in the 2010 municipal elections in Reykjavík,[9][10] with the party gaining six out of 15 seats on the Reykjavík City Council (34.7 percent of the vote). Einar, who was second on the party's list behind Jón, won one of the seats on the city council.

Jón ended up defeating the centre-right Independence Party-led municipal government of Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir, which came as "a shock" to Icelandic Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir. Jón's victory is widely seen as a backlash against establishment politicians in the wake of Iceland's 2008-2011 financial crisis.[11]

Jón's political platform included promises of "free towels in all swimming pools, a polar bear for the Reykjavík zoo, all kinds of things for weaklings, Disneyland in the Vatnsmýri area, a 'drug-free' Althing by 2020, sustainable transparency, tollbooths on the border with Seltjarnarnes, to do away with all debt, free access to Hljómskálagarðurinn (orchestral rotunda park)."[12][13]

Upon being elected, Jón announced that he would not enter a coalition government with anyone that had not watched the HBO series The Wire.[14] He is an avid watcher of the series, and stated his favorite character is Omar.[15] Ultimately, Jón's Best Party entered into a coalition with the social-democratic Social Democratic Alliance (Samfylkingin) as its junior partner to govern Reykjavík.

As Reykjavík mayor[edit]

Jón dressed in drag at the head of the Gay pride 2010 march through downtown Reykjavík.

After Jón became mayor of Reykjavík, it was jokingly proposed that the city be nicknamed Gnarrenburg, the title of an earlier television talk show featuring Jón.[16][17] As mayor, Jón has been a source of amusement and shock by appearing at the 2010 Gay Pride parade as a drag queen (as he is a major supporter of gay rights),[18][19] posting a video holiday greeting wearing a Darth Vader mask and a Santa Claus cap,[20] and suggesting a merger with neighboring municipality Kópavogur.[21] Jón Gnarr protested the Chinese government's treatment of human rights activist Liu Xiaobo, before the announcement of Liu's award for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.[22] He has also stated that he believes the importance of the European Union is highly over-rated.[23] On 30 October 2013, Jón Gnarr announced that he would not seek a second term in office when his first term expired in June 2014. [24]

After leaving office[edit]

Since leaving office, Jón Gnarr has campaigned for Iceland to abandon its laws requiring citizens to have traditional Icelandic names.[25] Jón also authored a book entitled Gnarr!: How I Became the Mayor of a Large City in Iceland and Changed the World.[26]In January 2015 Gnarr joined Rice University's Center for Energy and Environmental Research in the Human Sciences (CENHS, culturesofenergy.com) as their first writer in residence.[27]

Personal life and family[edit]

Jón Gnarr is married to Jóhanna Jóhannsdóttir, with whom he has five children.[28]

His daughter, Margret, is a fitness model and IFBB competitor.[29]

Awards and Recognitions[edit]

  • Edda Award
    • 2010 Bjarnfredarson (e. Mr. Bjarnfredarson) Best Actor of the Year (Winner)
    • 2010 Fangavaktin (e. The Prisoners Shift) Best Actor of the Year (Winner)
    • 2010 Bjarnfredarson (e. Mr. Bjarnfredarson) Best Film of the Year (Winner)
    • 2010 Bjarnfredarson (e. Mr. Bjarnfredarson) Screenplay of the Year (Winner)
    • 2010 Fangavaktin (e. The Prisoners Shift) TV Drama/Comedy of the Year (Winner)
    • 2008 Dagvagtin (e. The Day Shift) Screenplay of the Year (Nomination)
    • 2008 Dagvagtin (e. The Day Shift) TV Drama/Comedy of the Year (Winner)
    • 2007 Næturvaktin (e. The Night Shift) TV Drama/Comedy of the Year (Winner)
    • 2004 Með mann á bakinu (e. The Man on the Back) Screenplay of the Year (Winner)
    • 2001 Fóstbræður (e. Foster Brothers) Best Actor of the Year (Winner)
    • 2000 Íslenski draumurinn (e. The Icelandic Dream) Supporting Actor of the Year (Nomination)
  • 2010 - Visir.is, Person of the Year Award
  • 2013 - Honorary member of Samtökin '78, The National Queer Organization of Iceland
  • 2013 - Siðmennt, Humanist of the Year Award

See also[edit]

  • Gnarr, a 2010 Icelandic documentary film about Jón's mayoral campaign


  1. ^ This is an Icelandic name. Gnarr is not a (legal) family name nor a patronymic last name, while Kristinsson is, but he is properly referred to as Jón Gnarr (or by the given name Jón).


  1. ^ Magnússon, Haukur S. (17 June 2014). "Jón Gnarr Is No Longer Mayor Of Reykjavík". The Reykjavík Grapevine. Retrieved 17 June 2014. 
  2. ^ Patrick Cox (2014-07-02). "No longer mayor of Reykjavik, Jón Gnarr can restart his career as a comedian, not that ever stopped.". the world in words. Retrieved 2014-08-10. 
  3. ^ Larissa Kyzer (2013-11-26). "Jón Gnarr Criticizes "Stupid Law Against Creativity"". The Reykjavik Grapevine. Retrieved 2014-08-10. 
  4. ^ Nefrennsli Myspace
  5. ^ "Jón Gnarr, Reykjavík city bio" (in Icelandic). Rvk.is. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  6. ^ "The Reykjavik Grapevine Features / What Are You Voting For, Reykjavík?" (in Icelandic). Grapevine.is. 2010-05-25. Retrieved 2013-10-06. 
  7. ^ bjork.com GH&FT special : Jóga (accessed 24 January 2012)
  8. ^ Steinberg, Joseph (July 2014). "5 Life Lessons From The 'World's Coolest Mayor". Forbes. 
  9. ^ "Icelandic comedian to become Reykjavik's mayor". The Telegraph. 4 June 2010. Retrieved 11 June 2010. 
  10. ^ ""A dispatch from Jón Gnarr" (in Icelandic)". June 2011. 
  11. ^ "Satiric political party wins council poll in Iceland", Indo-Asian News Service, 30 May 2010. (accessed 24 January 2012)
  12. ^ Orchestral Rotunda Garden (in Icelandic and English)[dead link]
  13. ^ McGrane, Sally (25 June 2010). "Icelander’s Campaign Is a Joke, Until He's Elected". The New York Times. 
  14. ^ "The Reykjavik Grapevine Features / He Really Did It!" (in Icelandic). Grapevine.is. Retrieved 2013-10-06. 
  15. ^ "leroideschoux comments on I am Jón Gnarr, Mayor of Reykjavík. AMA". Reddit.com. 2012-12-11. Retrieved 2013-10-06. 
  16. ^ ""Life in Gnarrenburg" (in Icelandic), Morgunblaðið, November 7, 2002". Mbl.is. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  17. ^ ""Political-Comic becomes mayor of Reykjavík Gnarrenburg" June 4, 2010. Blog.de". Islaendisch.blog.de. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  18. ^ ""Reykjavík Mayor Jon Gnarr leads Gay Pride IceNews", August 7, 2010". Icenews.is. 2010-08-07. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  19. ^ "Reykjavik's mayor Jon Gnarr wears drag at Gay Pride - Hot Topics". Citizenside. 2010-08-07. Retrieved 2013-10-06. 
  20. ^ ""Christmas Greeting of Jon Gnarr - in the guise of Darth Vader" (in Icelandic). December 25, 2010, DV". Dv.is. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  21. ^ ""Jón Gnarr: Have a right to go to Smáralind (shopping mall in Kópavogur) without leaving the city limit" (in Icelandic). October 17, 2010, DV". Dv.is. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  22. ^ Innlent ». "Jón Gnarr criticizes China" (in Icelandic). September 14, 2010". Mbl.is. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  23. ^ ""I am Jón Gnarr, Mayor of Reykjavík. AMA", January 16, 2013". Reddit.com. 2012-12-11. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  24. ^ Iceland Travel Guide (2012-08-31). ""Jón Gnarr: I am not a politician, I am a comedian", October 30, 2013". Goiceland.is. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  25. ^ grapevine.is (2014-07-08). "Jón Gnarr: "In Jesus’ Name, Answer Me!"". Grapevine.is. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  26. ^ "Gnarr!: How I Became the Mayor of a Large City in Iceland and Changed the World". Mhpbooks.com. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  27. ^ http://culturesofenergy.com/reykjaviks-jon-gnarr-to-be-cenhs-writer-in-residence-spring-2015/
  28. ^ Yang, Jennifer (23 June 2014). "Did politics ruin 'the world’s coolest mayor'?". The Star. Retrieved 23 June 2014. 
  29. ^ "ღMargrét Gnarr". Margretgnarrfit.com. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir
Mayor of Reykjavik
2010 –2014
Succeeded by
Dagur B. Eggertsson