Jón Gnarr (IS)

Jón Gnarr was born on 2 January 1967. He was unruly and quarrelsome from an early age. In his teenage years he became a punk, so it comes as no surprise that he was known by the name “Jonny Punk”.

After receiving a compulsory school certificate from the Héradsskóli School at Núpur in Dýrafjördur, Jón applied to various junior colleges, including Flensborgarskólinn in Hafnarfjördur, the Comprehensive College at Ármúli, Breidholt College and Hamrahlíd College. However, he didn’t stay at any of them for long and didn’t take pre-university examinations.

You could say that Jón first found his calling as an employee at Kópavogshæli, a residential institution for the cognitively impaired, from 1985 to 1988. After his stint there, he worked on the nightshift at the Kleppur Mental Hospital before moving to Sweden in 1990.

In Sweden he worked at Volvo, among other places, and you can undoubtedly see his superb craftsmanship in the final production run of the Volvo 240—mainly in the doors.

In 1992 he started making a living for his family as a taxi driver at Bæjarleiðir in Iceland, as driver number 198 to be precise. In his years as a taxi driver, Jón got to know Reykjavík like the back of his hand and gathered plenty of material for his future career as a comedian from the many drunks he met along the way.

Along with his friend Sigurjón Kjartansson, he wrote and acted in comedy sketches in the show Heimsendi on Channel 2. Their partnership garnered much attention and they quickly became known for their innovative humour.

In 1995 the duo became notorious on television and radio, prompting a flood of calls to the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service. Many people were extremely shocked by their humour and the Radio Council held a special meeting regarding the matter.

Under the title Two-Headed, Jón and Sigurjón presented a morning radio programme on various stations from 1997 to 2002. To date, Two-Headed has released five CDs, all of which have become collectors’ items.

In 1997 Jón moved to the Stöd 2 television channel to become a member of the comedy group Fóstbrædur (Foster Brothers) which eventually went on to produce five series by 2001. The Fóstbrædur series were very well received by viewers, and they are still thought of as being among the best Icelandic comedy shows ever produced.

After various gigs in both radio and television, Jón became a hit again in the television series The Night Shift, in 2007. More success followed in the sequels The Day Shift, The Prison Shift and the film Bjarnfredarson. Jón won an Edda Award in 2010 for his role as Georg Bjarnfredarson, adding to the dozen or more Edda Awards he has won in his career as a scriptwriter, producer and actor.

In addition to all of this, Jón has been involved in advertising, book writing, stage plays and stand-up comedy. His show I was once a nerd, which was shown at the Loftkastalinn Theatre 1999-2000, is still very well known. Jón is a member of the Icelandic Actors Association and The Icelandic Dramatists’ Union.