Jonathan Van Ness, star of Netflix’s massively popular Queer Eye reboot, is coming to town for a stop on his first solo comedy tour, “Jonathan Van Ness: Road to Beijing.” Audiences can expect plenty of the signature JVN charm they know and love, along with some fresh surprises. We caught up with America’s newly minted sweetheart and talked trying new things, believing in yourself, and some very interesting childhood memories of Baltimore.
You’re one-fifth of such a dynamic group on Queer Eye, and you all have such amazing chemistry together. Is it nerve-wracking to go on the road by yourself?
Yes! Headlining a standup comedy tour is definitely different than doing Queer Eye with such good friends, however it’s a whole new art form and world for me to learn and thrive in, and it’s really fun for the artist in me to figure that out, so it’s a challenge I’m into accepting.
Since most people know you from the show, what can folks expect to be different in your solo comedy show?
They can expect to get a much more fleshed out, layered version of my personality including tons of physical comedy inspired by my obsession with gymnastics, yoga, and, of course, figure skating. I’m never afraid of taking a hard and fast detour from what I think I’m going to talk about, so it can be a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants good time.
You’re on figure skates in the promos for your tour. What inspired you to start skating?
I’ve been obsessed with figure skating for my whole entire life and always wanted to try it out. As soon as I had my first lesson a few months ago, I knew I was going to be absolutely addicted, and now it’s something I’m going to keep working hard at for the rest of my life.
On your podcast, “Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness,” you cover everything from renaissance art history to the current political and humanitarian situation in Central America. How do you track down your expert guests for such a varied line up?
It used to be in the first season that I tracked them down myself. But now my team and I come up with what ideas we’re going to cover and start searching who will be the best fit. It’s a lot of research and a lot of emails.
Audiences connect with you so readily because you put your true self out there. Is it ever hard for you to put your heart out there and be vulnerable with the world?
For sure. It’s always scary to put yourself out there, but it was really important to me when this all started to stay authentic, and it’s definitely been worth it so far.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to try something new, or to show up more fully as themselves every day?
You can’t trust your fear. Of course, you’ve got to listen to her sometimes, but just go for it. Just go!
Have you traveled to Baltimore before? What do you know about the city?
I peed my pants in the [National] Aquarium when I was 7 and have unfortunately not gone back since. So I’m really excited to right the wrongs of my Christmas past in Baltimore.
Ever rocked our city’s signature hairstyle, the beehive?
I have NOT, but I would totally like to.
What do you think of Baltimore’s style in general? What would you do to give the city a makeover?
I think Baltimore is killing it. She’s northeast and gorgeous.