Jón Gnarr is known to many of our readers as the fun-loving former mayor of Reykjavík, but his local claim to fame is based in large part on some of the many comedic characters he has created. One unlikely success is his character Indriði, a perpetually shouting and outraged man who issues an endless litany of petty complaints. This character resonated strongly with Icelanders, leading us to wonder just what it is about him that speaks to the national character, so we asked the creator himself.
“Indriði was not based on any one person that I remember, but rather a type that I created for the Tvíhöfði serial sketch programme Smásálin, a call-in radio show. Indriði didn’t get much attention when he first appeared, and for some reason he never appeared in the VHS copies we published. It wasn’t until he appeared on DVD that the character became a success. I had actually completely forgotten about him and his popularity surprised me greatly.
“Indriði is naturally a human archetype of Icelandic laziness and eccentricity. We are a society that’s still at the first stage of civilisation. Indriði is a kind of petty farmer who realises he’s in the city.”
Complaining about small things is somewhat of a national pastime. Indriði, who will complain loudly about such things as leaky faucets and noisy radiators at a corporate board meeting, is then a hyperbolic depiction of this facet of the Icelandic character.
Below you can see Indriði in action, complete with Icelandic subtitles.