Comedian, podcaster and television personality Jonathan Van Ness wears many hats, in the business sense that is. Being a hairstylist, it would be a sin if he hid his incredible locks under hats all the time. Van Ness skyrocketed to fame with his role on Netflix’s hit series Queer Eye, gained a strong audience base for his podcast Getting Curious and cemented his status as an impressive comedian with his Emmy-nominated web series Gay of Thrones. Now, the Ilinois native is going for gold- literally. Van Ness’ Road to Bejing comedy tour is inspired by his current quest to become a figure-skating prodigy in time for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. The comedian even got Olympic medalist Michelle Kwan to help him out, so it seems like he’s headed in the right direction. Van Ness chatted with Metro about what to expect at his Road To Beijing show on Feb. 28 at Tower Theater.
Jonathan Van Ness is going for gold in his new stand-up, literally
You’re a hairdresser, television and web personality, stand-up comedian and also going for gold in the skating world. What motivates you to always reach for more?
Jonathan Van Ness: My eternal desire to learn. Because I love to learn, this keeps me evolving and wanting to do more.
Road to Beijing follows your attempt and hopes at becoming a skating prodigy in time for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Did the skating inspire the comedy? Or did both seem to happen organically?
Jonathan Van Ness: 100 percent certified organic honey.
You teamed up with Olympic Medalist Michelle Kwan for a surprise video where you share the rink for a special routine. What was it like skating alongside a legend?
Jonathan Van Ness: Such a dream come true. Michelle is someone I’ve idolized my whole life and she so blew away any expectation I could have had. She’s such an incredible person and an amazing friend.
Photo: Matt Monath
Do you feel as though your podcast Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness, web series Gay of Thrones and spot on Queer Eye helped prepare you for the stand-up comedy world?
Jonathan Van Ness:Yes definitely, I get a lot of comedy from all of my experiences, including doing hair for many years.
What has been the most fulfilling and the most difficult part of this incredible journey that you’ve been on?
Jonathan Van Ness: The most difficult part is finding a way to balance my love of entertaining and working all the time, with my love of self-care and my homebody-ness. I’m not complaining at all because I love being on stage and entertaining people so much, but sometimes mommy just needs a little break with her cats. But the most fulfilling part is hearing from people who are fans of my comedy, my podcast, Queer Eye, Gay of Thrones, or even just people who love my ice skating Instagram content, and hearing that I’ve made them happy or made them laugh or improved their lives in some way. That part is beyond my wildest dreams.
What can audiences in the Philly area expect when they attend your comedy stand-up Road to Beijing?
Jonathan Van Ness: A fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants good time! Some Cirque du so gay, some off ice training moments, some yoga moments honey, and it will always feature two other strong comedians with either a female or LGBTQ perspective. It’s all new material, and the Philly show is the show that’s kicking off the whole tour, so all of this will be brand new and fresh and so exciting. I’m really going for gold!