Catching up with Gay of Thrones Star Jonathan Van Ness
By Out Contributor
Having just finished its fourth season, Game of Thrones (a.k.a. GoT) continues to be both a ratings and a headline grabber. Each episode is as buzzy as the next, heating up social media and driving fans into a frenzy. It’s the very definition of a water-cooler show.
The popularity of GoT inspired the creation of the Funny or Die web series Gay of Thrones, which highlights all the sexy, heart-stopping moments from every episode. Each week, Jonathan Van Ness, a Los Angeles–based hairstylist, serves up the sassy, clever, and generally hilarious recaps of a show not known for its humor.
With such noteworthy guest stars as comedian Margaret Cho and out fashion stylist Brad Goreski, the laugh-out-loud recaps are a must for any fan of the HBO series. They have become so popular that even stars of the show, including Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy) and Esme Bianco (Ros), and George R.R. Martin have stopped by. Van Ness, the lord of luscious locks and laughs, spills all the details behind his thoroughly enjoyable and addictive series.
Out: What prompted you to create your hilarious web series?
Jonathan Van Ness: While at a routine hair color appointment with my longtime client/friend Erin Gibson (creator of Gay of Thrones and writer-director at Funny or Die), I heard my stylist friend next to me trying to tell her client why he should watch Game of Thrones. At this point I jumped in and recapped why it’s an amazing show, based off of the second season finale. Once I was done going crazy, Erin asked if we could do this same thing for Funny or Die. Thus, in my chair, Gay of Thrones was born.
Which were you a fan of first, the TV show or the novels on which it is based?
I was a fan of the TV show at first, for sure, I mean, I love some instant gratification. Who doesn't, right? With the fourth-season finale looming [this Sunday on HBO], however, I am tempted to read the novels to distract me from the Game of Thrones–size void in my heart until next season.
Why do you think Game of Thrones resonates so much with the LGBT audience?
I think GoT resonates with the gays for a multitude of reasons. I mean, obvi we have the gorge gay sex scenes, which are fabulous, but more than that we see how the storylines of being gay/bi (we miss you, bi pride) are mirrored in this fantasy world in a really interesting way. More than that, there is amazing fashion, writing, fierce hair, and gorge straights and gays alike. So no wonder we all love it so much!
Are you a legit hairstylist, or do you just play one online?
I am a legit stylist and colorist and have been working since I was 18. Doing hair was my first love and is still what I do with the majority of my time.
As a hairstylist, do you actually do everyone's hair each webisode?
Yes, we actually do the hair every episode. Sometimes it’s a haircut, sometimes just a style; it all depends on what's going on. It keeps every episode fresh and challenging for me! Not only am I giving you recap realness, I'm serving some slayed hair too!
What guest have you freaked out over having on your Web show?
The first time I did Esme Bianco's color (who played Ros on the TV show), which was before she did the finale with me, I was quite star-struck. She is so gorge and humble, we love her. I still get to tend to those ginger locks to this day! Also, of course, Margaret Cho, being one of my all time comedic inspirations, was another major OMG moment for me. She also uses me to keep her hair looking gorge now too!
Have you heard from GoT's producers? Do they love your Web show as much as we do?
I was so fortunate to get to work with some of the cast of Game of Thrones. I’ve done some of the cast members’ hair in my chair and at Comic-Con last year. Everyone behind Gay of Thrones are all are huge fans of GoT and love getting to do such a fun recap of such a brilliant show!
Watch the last episode of Gay of Thrones below:
Interview by Brian Andersen