Prank-Calling Comedian Is New Reykjavik Mayor

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Much like former Saturday Night Live member turned U.S. Senator Al Franken, the newly elected Mayor of Reykjavik is a comedian and TV actor with little political experience. But unlike Franken, who long ago abandoned joke-writing to seriously embrace politics, Icelandic funny man Jon Gnarr isn't drawing a line between his comedic and political lives. In fact, Gnarr, whose "Best Party" swept the elections for Reykjavik City Council, seems to consider his mayoral duties an extension of his comedy act. Here are the funniest--or, if you live in Reykjavik and were hoping for serious governance, scariest--details from a profile of Gnarr by the New York Times' Sally McGrane:

  • "With his party having won 6 of the City Council's 15 seats, Mr. Gnarr needed a coalition partner, but ruled out any party whose members had not seen all five seasons of 'The Wire.'"
  • Gnarr "promised a classroom of kindergartners he would build a Disneyland at the airport."
  • "The Best Party, whose members include a who's who of Iceland's punk rock scene, formed a coalition with the center-left Social Democrats."
  • Gnarr's "foreign relations experience includes a radio show in which he regularly crank-called the White House, the C.I.A., the F.B.I. and police stations in the Bronx to see if they had found his lost wallet."
  • McGrane explains Gnarr's economic stimulus plan: An "idea to attract more tourists by attaining spa status for the city's public pools, which have seawater and sulfur baths. For accreditation under certain European Union rules, however, a spa has to offer free towels, so that became a campaign slogan."
  • "The campaign released a popular video set to Tina Turner's 'The Best,' in which Mr. Gnarr posed with a stuffed polar bear and petted a rock, while joining his supporters in singing about the Best Party. "
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.