Jonathan Van Ness has gotten his share of press lately. Perhaps best known as the fabulous grooming expert on the Netflix series “Queer Eye,” he will release his memoir “Over the Top” in the fall, and has recently been doing stand-up in a tour titled “Road to Beijing.” The fun heads to the Waterfront at Harrah’s Resort 8 p.m. Saturday, June 15.
Atlantic City Weekly had the chance to speak to the Emmy-winning reality star in advance of his A.C. show on some of his favorite topics: figure skating, “Game of Thrones” and “The Golden Girls.”
A.C. Weekly: How did you go from a hair dresser/stylist to a stand-up comic?
Jonathan Van Ness: It was really luck and timing. I had a lifelong obsession with Margaret Cho, which went into Janeane Garofolo to Ellen DeGeneres — all these amazing female comedians. And I was the accidental comedian behind the chair. I mean, it didn’t even occur to me — like Mrs. Maisel. And when I got to work with Margaret Cho on “Gay of Thrones” in 2014 she said, “You’re made for stand up.” I said, “No, YOU are. I’m just a hairdresser.” I felt like I hadn’t paid my dues like other comedians.
But about a year before “Queer Eye” I was going around telling people to face their fears and step out of their comfort zones. And here I was, not doing it. So back in (a club in) Hollywood I did 10 minutes of stand up … and I was hooked.
ACW: Talk about your obsession with figure skating.
JVN: I started skating in November 2018. I’m no Adam Rippon. I do the basic moves. But I love to skate, it’s a passion. I grew up watching figure skating with my mom. My mom and I still have shelves filled with figure skating VHSes. For me, it would fall under the umbrella of self-care. My inner child is just so joyful when I skate.
ACW: Your tour is called “Road to Beijing” (where the 2022 Winter Olympics will be). If you wound up skating there, what medal would you win?
JVN: I probably would not be winning a medal, I’d be in the stands cheering them all on. But my favorite skater right now is Yevgenia Medvedeva and she just won a Bronze (in the World Championships in March), so … I would win a bronze.
ACW: You recently had some online tips for summer styling. Now that you’re coming to the beach, which will you put to use?
JVN: The one I’m not fighting is natural texture. I really have curly hair so I will be rocking my natural waves. So I’ll be employing curly hair proucts like Shu Uemura’s Wonder Worker, which works whether you blow dry or air dry. It helps prevent frizz and gives it muscle memory. And I like the Air Dry Foam by Ouai.
ACW: How did you come up with “Gay of Thrones?”
JVN: With friends, doing hair, in 2012. We were just talking about “Game of Thrones” and I was recapping it. It went from there.
ACW: Now that “Games of Thrones” is over, is there another TV parody in the works?
ACW: How big is your shoe collection?
JVN: It is pretty sizable. But it’s not as big as it could be. It’s hard to find designers who make a size 42.
ACW: Is this your first time in Atlantic City? What do you plan on doing when you’re here?
JVN: It is my first trip, although I feel like I was there before when “Sex and the City” was there. Really I just plan on having fun. I have a lot of friends coming in from the city for my show. Maybe we’ll walk the boardwalk or something.
ACW: If you were a Golden Girl, who would you be and why?
JVN: Dorothy. Because we both have an adventurous sense of style and wide-set shoulders.