Jono Duffy wants to know if you miss him yet

Jonathan Duffy has a brand-new comedy show coming up at Tjarnarbíó on September 11th. GayIceland caught up with the award winning comedian to find out more.

The title of your show is, Do you miss me yet?, but our question is, Do you miss us?
“Every single day. I was in my 6th year of living in Iceland when I left and it was the longest I had ever stayed in one place as an adult so there’s been a definite feeling of homesickness in the past two years. It’s a bit strange sometimes, I feel homesickness for a place I wasn’t born in or grew up in but it was indeed my home. I don’t want to make anyone feel sorry for me but I’ve really had some moments in the past two years where there’s been a real longing to come back, I’m talking about ‘crying in the shower’ kind of moments.”

“I don’t think I’ve been this excited about something in a really long time. It’s really exciting.”

What does it feel to be coming back to Iceland?
“I don’t think I’ve been this excited about something in a really long time. It’s really exciting. There’s something comforting about returning back to a place where you just know how things work and nothing is a big surprise. I miss so many things about Iceland like familiar places and faces, the fact that Icelanders never know how to line up for things and that they’re always late, the sense of community; I miss it all. To loads of people it would seem lame but I don’t really have many plans for the time I get to be there. I just want to be where I used to live and feel the things I used to feel for a bit before I have to return back to France.”

Is the show in Reykjavík an indication that you are moving back here?
“I don’t think I can say that the show is an indication I’m moving back, but moving back isn’t completely off the table. For those that aren’t aware, the reason I left France was so my fiancé (who’s French) could complete a masters degree. At the moment he just finished the first year of two years. At the end of the degree we have no idea what we’ll do so in a way, it’s totally possible that we could move back someday, it all just depends on what job opportunities are available in his field. The thing about doing stand up is that I can pretty much do it anywhere. I just need a microphone and an audience, so I think it’s good to make sure that the man I’m going to marry also has the same opportunities and career satisfaction as I do. If that means living somewhere else, it’s fine. Oh and he missed Iceland just as much as I do.”

Asked what the new show is about Jono says that it’s less of a big story and more of a catch up. “It’s going to be a night where I will fill people in on what’s been going on but I’m also keeping some space to be able to have fun and see where things go. I have much more fun on stage when I improvise and go with things that come to me on the spot and in this show I would like to be able to do more of that. Of course, I will always leave some space for some old favourites just in case there’s an audience member or two who’d like to hear me dig out my big old shelf joke…. If you know you know.”

Is it based on your life since you left for France?
“I will definitely be talking about life since I moved to France. It has been an interesting journey and when I say interesting, I mean sometimes it’s been like climbing up Mount Esja in a snowstorm while you’re on fire. France is a whole other beast and Paris is sometimes like its own country inside France, except for this one, you spell the word ‘Country’ without the ‘o’.”

The video that went viral

The last time we spoke Jonathan, or Jono as he is called, was set to premier a live show in France and he was a bit stressed since he hadn’t done one in a while, but Jono tells me that it actually went really well.
“It was a bit of an experiment to see if I could fill a theatre,” he says. “When I first arrived in Paris, I had no friends and no job and didn’t think I would ever have a career here as a comedian because I didn’t know anything about the scene or how to get gigs. Out of loneliness I started taking the little ideas I would normally have for jokes and put them into TikToks. I was doing that for a while and then suddenly after a couple of months, one little video I made about not being able to remember my phone number in French went a little bit viral and then I started getting a lot more attention on the app.

Eventually I developed a bit of a significant following and thought, ‘maybe I should see if some of these TikTok people would come see me live?’ So I booked a small theatre and the tickets sold out in three days. I did the show a second time and it went really well too. I’m actually doing a third run of the show, which is called ‘I hate Paris’ just after I get back from Iceland. I have no idea if it will go well again but that’s basically the gamble with stand-up. You’re only as good as your last gig.”

You sarcastically told us that the show you did from your apartment during lockdown was called ‘Jono Duffy, Nothing to Lose’ because at the time you were unemployed, had no friends and had nothing to lose. What is your situation today? What have you been up to since then?

He smiles. “I still don’t really have any friends haha. Yeah my situation has changed a lot. I can’t really earn a full time wage from stand-up in France so I have other work. One of the huge differences between France and Iceland is that the salaries are a lot lower in France and the country has a huge push to make sure everyone who is able to receive an education can get one. That’s great but what tends to happen is that everyone has a degree so if you don’t have one, it’s really hard to get a job. I’m an almost 37 year old immigrant who has spent the better part of the last two decades working on a career that doesn’t really make me the most ideal candidate in the eyes of French companies so I have to hussle a lot.

“I developed a bit of a significant following and thought, ‘maybe I should see if some of these TikTok people would come see me live?’ So I booked a small theatre and the tickets sold out in three days.”

At the moment I have three main jobs. I teach English, I write blogs for a marketing agency based in Iceland and I make informative videos about insurance for expats. I guess I should be thankful that a career in stand-up has taught me to always say yes to paid work, but in France I really do work a lot.

At the moment I’m about to do a lot of travel. In September I’ve got shows in Paris, Northern France, Switzerland and Reykjavík. Then I will continue to do my ‘I hate Paris’ show once a month till the end of the year. I don’t really have any huge projects on the go because I’m still figuring it all out.

Sometimes I kick myself for leaving Iceland when I did because I missed out on a bunch of opportunities. I was supposed to have a small role in the second season of Stella Blómkvist. I was going to come back as the character I was in the first season. I mean it’s not a huge character but it was really nice to be invited back, but I couldn’t do it because all of the lock-down procedures and everything at the time would have meant that it would have actually cost me money to do the job but I would really like to do more acting for screen so I’m in the process of trying to showcase that skill a bit more. Not many people know this but I was an actor long before I was a comedian, so if any Icelandic screenwriters are reading this and looking for a bearded late 30s guy with a dad bod who’s pretty good at doing a bunch of accents and knows how to deliver lines, I’m available.”

I would love to come back to Iceland more regularly or even pick up with some of the things I had started to work on when I was there. There’s a whole lot of things I had planned before we left and I would love to be able to do them some day.”

The French like it when comedians make fun of them

Asked how the French are reacting to his stand-up performances he says the reception has been pretty positive so far. “French people, just like Icelanders, like it when comedians make fun of them. I think it’s a weird little mark of respect. It’s nice when you’re in the audience to know that the comedian has taken the time to learn about your culture and the things that make you tick in order to make fun of them.

In Paris, the audiences are generally 50% French (who speak English) and 50% immigrants. The material I’ve been doing has a similar spin to when I first started out in Iceland. I look at the things I’ve gone through as an immigrant and find a way to make both sides of the audience laugh.”

Is it tough to break into the art scene – or should I say the world of performance – in France?
“From what I’ve seen it is actually really tough here. I have to admit that I’ve been very lucky because I’ve been working as a comedian for so long that I have a tonne of videos and evidence to prove I know what I’m doing so when I got here I was able to get spots at the same places as people who are already working professionally. I didn’t have to beg open mic nights to give me 5 minutes, which is what I was totally expecting.

I would say that the English speaking scene in France is a little bit harder than Iceland because, in Iceland most people who would go to see standup understand English. The potential audience is much harder to reach here. There are also a lot of legislations that make it really difficult to actually make money from comedy. For example, when I want to do a show in Iceland I just book a theatre and do the show. In France you’re only allowed to do that about 6 times a year without having a production company behind you and then there’s a whole lot of administrative processes and legal things that make it really hard to just operate as a solo performer.

One of the things I really loved and miss a lot about Iceland is that it really is a country where you can take an idea and just make it happen. People are supportive of new artists, concepts and directions and are willing to give things a go. That kind of support doesn’t really happen in France. You need to be established here to get support and attention, and it doesn’t matter if you were a big deal somewhere else, if the French haven’t heard of you, you don’t exist so you have to work much harder to get noticed.
Is the new show the only reason you’re coming back?

“One of the things I really loved and miss a lot about Iceland is that it really is a country where you can take an idea and just make it happen.”

I have to be honest, the show isn’t the main reason I’m coming back, one of my best friends is getting married. Some people might know that I’ve had a podcast for a little while called ‘Not in Front of My Salad’ with an Icelander called Emilia Gunnarsdóttir. We continued it after I moved to France and she’s getting married so I’m coming back mainly for her. We are coming over for her wedding but as soon as we knew we were coming I straight away booked Tjarnarbíó.”

Will this be a ‘One show only’ ?
“Yep 100%! I have one week in Iceland and only one night in the theatre so it’s definitely a one time thing. If you haven’t got tickets and it sells out, you’ll miss out. I know I said that I would like to come back more regularly, but I have no idea when that’s gonna be so if you don’t get in now, it might be your last chance. I’m not getting any younger and every day is a gift so just come and let’s have some fun.”

More info on the show here.

The Hamburger Factory
- gourmet burgers

Ok. You’re in Iceland. Most likely for the first time.

You will probably bathe in the Blue Lagoon and take a road trip to Gullfoss and
Geysir. That’s all well and good. But neither Geysir’s nor waterfalls are
something you eat. That’s why we have 15 brilliant and creative hamburgers at
The Hamburger Factory. And they are all perfectly square. Don’t miss out on
Iceland’s most beloved hamburgers.

The Hamburger Factory is Iceland’s most innovative gourmet burger chain.
Packed with burger-craving customers since it’s opening in 2010, among the
regulars is Iceland’s best known fisherman, Eric Clapton. In our restaurants we
welcome tourists with our newspaper like menu and smiley service. They are
packed with fun items and memorable connections to Icelandic pop culture.

Locations:

Omnom Chocolate
- award-winning chocolate maker

    Omnom Chocolate is an Icelandic craft chocolate company based in Reykjavík. We produce handcrafted chocolate from organic cacao beans sourced ethically and sustainably. We’ve developed direct relationships to create premium chocolate with fine flavor cacao beans.

    Our creative flavors are carefully crafted by meticulous chocolate makers. The cacao beans are roasted, winnowed, ground, and refined into melty-smooth chocolate.

    Omnom’s process is one of constant exploration, invention, and experimentation. If it doesn’t please us, if something isn’t absolutely delicious, there’s no reason to be doing it. So, we always start with our taste buds and follow our instincts. Our team searches for the finest ingredients in the world and new ways to improve chocolate. This obsession with knowing where our ingredients come from has led us around the corner to dairy farms in the Icelandic countryside and all the way to rainforest cacao farms of Nicaragua.

    In only a few short years, we’ve grown from our 50 sq. m. petrol station space and become an award-winning chocolate maker. Now, with our headquarters in 101 Reykjavík, our chocolate is sent out around Iceland and all over the world.

    At the end of the day, our goal is to make chocolate.

     

    Alfred’s Apartments
    - gay owned an operated

      Alfred’s Apartments and Alfred’s Studios is a gay operated and owned accommodation in the heart of Reykjavik.

      Alfred’s Apartments offers spacious apartments at a good price located just around the corner from Laugavegur shopping street. You can choose the apartment starting from a Small Studio for 2 persons to a large One-bedroom Apartment with balcony for 5 persons.

      Their staff will ensure your comfort during the stay and provide the most updated information about the city, gay and night life in Reykjavik.

      Each apartment has a private bathroom with a shower, fully equipped kitchen and free Wi-Fi. Guests can buy groceries at the local grocery store 50 meters from the apartments. Because of their very central location, numerous shops, restaurants and cafés are available in the surrounding area. The Church of Hallgrimur is located 350 m from the apartments, a tourist agency is just 50 m away and the nearest gay bar is less than 5 minutes walking distance.

      Laekur hostel
      In the hostel we have dorms for 4-8 persons with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. The rooms are furnished with free internet, lockers, and a USB charger by each bed. The beds have linen provided and you can rent a towel in the cafe on the ground floor for 5 EUR.

      All the dorms are mixed with both genders. You can also book a whole room with 4-8 bunker beds.

      Nasdaq

         

        Nasdaq (Nasdaq: NDAQ) is a global technology company serving the capital markets and other industries. Our diverse offering of data, analytics, software and services enables clients to optimize and execute their business vision with confidence.

        With over 4,300 employees in 39 offices around the world, at Nasdaq we all contribute to the success of the company and its culture, and each one of us has the ability to make a difference. When it comes to our core mission and values, we embrace the role of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (DIB) as a fundamental driver of our corporate growth, workplace culture and market development. We strive to create a culture that embraces the power of different perspectives—a culture where people’s unique backgrounds and different experiences helps us fuel innovation and support our clients around the world.

        Our unique position at the center of the capital markets allows us to see firsthand how these values have redefined corporate culture and success, deepening and accelerating our own commitment to champion inclusive growth and prosperity, as we strive to create more equitable opportunities to help people of all backgrounds reach their full potential. Most notably, we published our diversity statistics for the first time in 2020. These metrics serve as a quantitative assessment of where we are today and help determine what strategies we need to adopt to enhance diversity in the workplace. We recognize that we have much work to do, but we are steadfast in our commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive culture—one that reflects the communities in which we live, allows all employees to be their true, authentic selves and fosters individual growth and achievement.

        As we move forward together, we will continue advancing diverse ideas and perspectives that help fulfill the promise of a more inclusive and prosperous world. We aim to set the pace for rethinking capital markets and economies anywhere and everywhere. To learn more about the company, technology solutions and career opportunities, visit us on LinkedIn, on Twitter @Nasdaq, or at www.nasdaq.com.

        Blue Lagoon
        - One of the 25 Wonders of the World

        Named by National Geographic as one of the 25 Wonders of the World, the Blue Lagoon is a shimmering expanse of warmth, relaxation, and rejuvenation. Its unique geothermal seawater
        comes from 2.000 meters within the earth where seawater and freshwater converge in a tectonic realm of porous lava and searing heat. Propelled by extreme pressure, the water ascends to the earth’s surface, emerging enriched with silica, algae, and minerals—the elements that endow Blue Lagoon geothermal seawater with its radiant, healing properties.

        From its humble beginnings in the shadows of a geothermal power plant, Blue Lagoon has evolved into a world of wonder, now encompassing two hotels, three restaurants, three
        geothermal lagoons, a subterranean spa, a renowned line of skin care, a thriving research center, and a wealth of spa and refreshment facilities.

        Achieving harmony with the volcanic landscape, the lagoon and its surrounding architecture embody the unification of the man-made and the natural, and adhere to the highest principles of sustainability.

        The Blue Lagoon. A wonder of the world. A world of wonder.

        Whales of Iceland
        - larger than life

        Whales of Iceland is the largest whale exhibition in Europe (and perhaps even the world), where guests can learn about the giants of the sea in a calm and modern environment. The permanent exhibition features whales like guests have never seen them before. It is truly a giant experience.

        Landsbankinn
        - leading financial institution
        Landsbankinn

        Landsbankinn is a leading Icelandic financial institution. It offers a full range of financial services and is the market leader in the Icelandic financial service sector with the largest branch network.

        The present bank was established on 7 October 2008 but the history of its predecessor dates back to 1886. The bank is owned by the National Treasury of Iceland, which holds 98.2% of its share capital, and other shareholders who own 1.8%.

        Landsbankinn’s strategy is to provide comprehensive financial services that meet customer’s needs. It emphasizes providing exemplary service to customers, developing e-banking for their convenience, increasing the efficiency of support functions, modernizing its technology and ensuring effective utilization of its balance sheet.

        The bank’s vision is to be exemplary and its role is to be a trusted financial partner.

        Special emphasis is placed on promoting a performance-oriented culture in the bank. To follow up on the implementation of this strategy, the bank has defined key goals which are measured regularly to determine progress. These goals include, for example, customer satisfaction and loyalty, profitability, cost efficiency and the correlation between risk appetite and employee satisfaction.

        Landsbankinn wishes to lead the development of a sustainable society in Iceland by integrating economic, social and environmental concerns in its operations. The Bank aims to ensure that both its owners and society at large benefit from its activities.

        It intends to achieve this aim by building solid infrastructure and a strong team of 1.100 employees, by listening to its customers and by respecting and encouraging its employees to actively participate in their community. Landsbankinn was a founding member of Festa, a Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, and is a member of the UN Global Compact.

        Landsbankinn has been a proud sponsor of the Reykjavik Pride since it was first celebrated in Iceland.

        Aurora Reykjavik
        - northern lights center

          Aurora Reykjavik is a Northern Lights Center situated in downtown Reykjavík at the Old Harbor next to Icelandair Hotel Marina and Vikin Maritime Museum.

          Aurora Reykjavík is Iceland’s first educational and recreational Northern Lights Center where multimedia is used to explain when, why and how the Northern Lights work, with the highlights being large HD projection of the Aurora’s. We also share myths and legends about what our ancestor thought about those mystical lights.

          The Northern Lights Center is for all ages. Children are our favorite guests and we created the exhibition in a way that children can have a look freely and parents don’t have to worry about things being broken.

          Aurora Reykjavik offers a great selection of souvenirs that are designed and made by Icelanders along with nice little coffee corner, where you can enjoy free coffee and tea while browsing through the souvenirs or just planning your next step.

          Contact Aurora

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            Dohop
            - get inspired
            Dohop

            Dohop allows people to find the cheapest flights available with just one click. Founded in Reykjavik in 2004, it is the only Icelandic company of its kind and quickly became the go-to tool for finding cheap flights among the locals. Dohop finds the best deals among hundreds of different airlines and online travel agencies, to make sure that the user is getting the cheapest price. Dohop also offers hotel and car rental search engines, so users can make all of their travel bookings from a single website.

            Dohop‘s specialty is finding so-called “self-connect” flight options, which can save travelers money by booking a ticket through two or more different airlines. The ability to look for these self-connect option is what sets Dohop apart from its competition, as it can save people hundreds of dollars on certain routes.

            More recently, Dohop has developed a unique product called Dohop Go!, which allows users to check for the cheapest available flights from their home airport. This tool is perfect for those who are looking for travel inspiration but are not willing to overpay for their flight ticket. Dohop Go! is now available in the Dohop Flights App, both for Android and iOS, along with its traditional flight, hotel, and car search engines. “

            VSÓ Ráðgjöf

               

              VSÓ Ráðgjöf er alhliða ráðgjafar- og verkfræðifyrirtæki sem leggur áherslu á trausta og faglega þjónustu sem tryggir viðskiptavinum hagkvæmustu lausnir hverju sinni, skilar raunverulegum árangri og stuðlar að samkeppnisforskoti.  Á skrifstofum VSÓ í Reykjavík og í Noregi starfar yfir 80 manna samhentur hópur verkfræðinga og annarra tæknimenntaðra starfsmanna.

              Macland
              - for all your Apple needs
              Macland

              From starting out as a proper startup with only a good idea and the need to change things, to becoming an established company with 6 employees. Starting from scratch and expanding organically has allowed us to love our expansion and take our customers on the ride with us.

              Macland is located at Laugavegur 23 (101, Downtown Reykjavik)
              For all your Apple needs. We are here.

              Ísey skyr
              - once tasted never forgotten

              Our Story
              Once upon a time, 1,100 years ago in fact, Nordic settlers began arriving in Iceland. They brought with them the skills and knowledge for producing skyr. As time passed, the know-how and recipe for this nutritious food slowly faded out elsewhere in the Nordic region. Luckily, the Icelandic skyr-making tradition continued.

              For centuries, Icelandic skyr formed a cornerstone of the national diet, helping to keep people strong in living conditions that were often harsh. On family farms countrywide, it was the women who nurtured this dairy and passing on both the recipe and the original Icelandic skyr cultures from mother to daughter.

              Ísey skyr builds on this remarkable legacy. It was some of those very same women, the recipients of their mothers’ expertise, who, around 90 years ago, taught Icelandic dairy scientists the art of skyr-making. The production process is more high-tech these days, and the quality standards more rigorous. However, the basic recipe and the use of original cultures to ferment the skimmed milk remain the same. Protein rich, fat-free, creamy and delicious – Ísey skyr is as relevant to consumers now as it was all those centuries ago.
              This is our secret and you are in on it

              You can read more about Ísey skyr on our website.

              Núðluskálin
              - noodle bar
              Núðluskálin

              Núðluskálin is a small gay owned and operated fusion noodle bar.

              All of our courses are individually made from fresh ingredients and therefore highly customisable.
              We offer fully Vegan versions of all courses.
              Though originally a take-away we now seat over 30 people.

              Núðluskálin is located right in the heart of Reykjavík on Skólavörðustígur 8 (street leading up to the big Church) near the junction with Laugavegur (main street).

              Seatours
              - adventure cruise

              Ferry Baldur – the gate to the West fjords
              and VikingSushi Adventure – Bird & Nature watching Tour for everyone all year around

              The “VikingSushi Adventure” is the right boat tour for travelers who are adventurous and want to experience something new – close up to the nature seafood simply doesn’t come fresher than this! The archipelago area of the Breidafjordur Bay always surprises her visitors during winter or summer with spectacular sights. Where else you get to try delicious fresh scallops and sea urchin roe straight from the ocean served with soy sauce, wasabi and ginger.

              600x400-seatours-tasting

              This old volcanic area, characterized by the typical basalt formations of the islands, is the home of countless birds. Here you will also find the strongest currents in Iceland. The VikingSushi Tour takes roughly two hours and our captain is also the tour guide.

              600x400-seatours

              The VikingSushi Tour is a true adventure through incredible nature which should not be missed by any traveler to West Iceland.

              Birds, possible to spot:
              -puffins (from the middle of April until the middle of August)
              -eider ducks
              -shags
              -kittiwakes
              -fulmars
              -white-tailed eagle

              The car ferry Baldur is the bridge to the West fjords via the island Flatey
              Ferry Baldur crosses Breidafjordur Bay daily from Stykkisholmur on the Snæfellsnes peninsula to Brjanslaekur in the north. A ferry ride considerably shortens the route between the south and mid-west of the country and the West Fjords region. It also gives you the opportunity to experience a floating restaurant.

              Take a stopover at the charming island Flatey when you are crossing the bay or go to a day tour to Flatey and back to Stykkishólmur. At Flatey are no cars allowed and between the houses of the 18th century you get the feeling of a journey back in time.

              Contact Us


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