Before “Queer Eye” was a twinkle in our queer eyes, there was “Gay of Thrones.” Starring everyone’s favorite long-locked mother of unicorns, the Funny or Die series features “Queer Eye” hair stylist Jonathan Van Ness rehashing each “Game of Thrones” episode, and it’s exactly as amazing as that sounds. Spewing cultural references like dragonfire, Van Ness and his rotating cast of guests assign clever nicknames to each character: Daenerys is “Christina Aguilera,” Cersei is “Vintage Mia Farrow,” and Arya is “Baby Kill Bill,” as a small sampling. As guests sit in his stylist’s chair, Van Ness rattles off the drama of Westeros with his signature panache — serving Valley girl realness with a deep and abiding cultural knowledge.
Created by Erin Gibson, “Gay of Thrones” received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Short Form Variety Series in 2016, the inaugural year of the short form categories. It was beat out for the statuette by “Park Bench with Steve Buscemi” and missed the deadline to submit last year, but Van Ness, perhaps unsurprisingly, was not shy about sharing his hopes for a 2018 nomination.
“I have learned from big awards shows, especially after seeing Beyoncé’s [‘Lemonade’ snub]. I get that it’s not a fair world, but Mommy wants that nomination, she does, I really do,” Van Ness told IndieWire by phone. “And it doesn’t matter, cause like if Beyoncé can be over it, I don’t even care.”
Further explaining the Beyoncé connection, he said: “We actually got snubbed the same year for an Emmy and a Grammy, because ‘Lemonade’ got snubbed the same year ‘Gay of Thrones’ did, and Steve Buscemi and Adele should go start a club. But I’m not angry about it, I’m not bitter, I know it sounded like I was bitter but that was your mistake, and Steve Buscemi deserved it and Adele did not. I know I shouldn’t say that in an interview, but we all know Beyoncé deserved it and Adele did not. I always get like this when I start to talk about the Grammys. It’s a problem.”
This is the genius of Van Ness’ humor. As in “Gay of Thrones,” he rattles off cultural touchstones at a breakneck pace, indulging in tangents that always feel relevant. As for whether he and Gibson will do the final season of “Gay of Thrones” when “Game of Thrones” concludes next year, Van Ness said they are definitely finishing with a bang.
“One hundred and fifty thousand percent yes, that is happening,” he said. “Erin and I are just so committed, and that is just my little baby that could and I am so excited for Thursday, not that I realize that the Emmy nominations are on Thursday or anything.”