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Interview: Comedian (and Reykjavik mayor) Jon Gnarr

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At the end of Gaukar Ulfarsson's documentary, Gnarr, the title character, comedian Jon Gnarr, along with his friends/campaign managers, have a stunned look on their faces.

It's election night 2010 in Reykjavik, Iceland, and Gnarr - a joke candidate for mayor running from his self-invented Best Party - has won. Absorbing the news, Gnarr's expression - of disbelief, elation and concern - essentially says, "What do I do now?"

"Yah, I had that look on my face for quite a long time," the 44-year-old actor-comedian says, sitting in a tiny hotel room for an interview during the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival, where the film played last weekend. "It's so easy to become overwhelmed. It's a little hard to get my head around everything sometimes.

"At times, it's been terrifying. When I won, I seriously thought, 'How the hell do I get out of this? What possible excuse can I come up with to be excused?' I figured some diagnosis of a disease. I've been trying desperately to find ways to get out."

Red-haired, with a mischievously elfin look and droll, deadpan delivery, Gnarr created the Best Party with like-minded pals and jumped into the race, as a satirical protest of the policies that led to Iceland's financial collapse in 2008.

He came up with a platform that called for more fun for the citizenry, a Disneyland in Reykjavik ("I'd really like to build a Jurassic Park here," he said during a campaign debate, with a straight face) and adding more polar bears to the zoo. And he promised not to hire anyone for his administration who wasn't familiar with The Wire. (His favorite character? Omar, of course.) His campaign slogan? "Hooray for almost everything!"

His approach, at first, was purely comic. But it shifted as the ground under him changed as well.

"I always try to find a balance between the serious and nonsense," he says. "I try to create serious nonsense.

Click here: This interview continues on my website.