Watch Jonathan Van Ness Groom David Letterman’s Beard & Chat LGBTQ+ Rights
Get ready for some enlightening shoptalk. As part of the Netflix crossover you never knew you needed, Queer Eye‘s Jonathan Van Ness attempted to tame David Letterman’s beard in a newly released video from the streaming network. Of course a barbershop was the perfect setting for some truly entertaining banter between the two men, with topics ranging from self-care to the evolving rights of the LGBTQ+ community on the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City.
Before JVN and Letterman — who hosts the Netflix interview series, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction — dove into more serious territory, however, they first tackled the former Late Show legend’s maintenance, or lack thereof, of his "post-retirement beard." After telling Letterman he looks "fit as a fiddle," the Queer Eye grooming pro threw in some hilarious correlations between Letterman’s beard and everything from the Bermuda Triangle to historical figures, such as Amelia Earhart and Theresa May.
"That looks like somebody who’s ready to sign the treaty at Fort Sumter, honey," JVN exclaimed, admiring his handiwork that included matching mustache handlebars. A the beginning of the clip, Letterman really didn’t seem quite sure what to think of his energetic hairdresser, upping the video’s endearing factor.
When it comes to Letterman’s self-care rituals, he admitted to only using a bar of soap all over his head and beard. JVN — who had to fight Letterman tooth and nail to let him do any trimming — comically noted that he’s glad he’s disinfecting but encourages a more product-heavy grooming regimen. Letterman’s response? It’s "almost as unpleasant as a trip to the dentist."
After more chatter about meditation and mindfulness, JVN moved on to the more sobering topic of Stonewall and the longstanding fight for LGBTQ+ rights — and his own prior lack of knowledge of exactly how much violence and oppression the community had faced at the hands of law enforcement.
"Now we would have a gorgeous parade, a gorgeous party, and while it is celebratory and can be really fun, it was born out of this literal riot that happened in Stonewall," he said, also noting that his attire, which often includes the long skirts he’s famous for wearing, would have been considered a crime just half a century ago. The fact that 50 years isn’t really that far in the past was "stunning" and seemed "primitive" to Letterman.
"Just the way that there are 7 billion people in the world that all experience life in a different, unique way, there is that many different unique ways that sexuality and gender can be expressed too," Van Ness, shared, adding that doesn’t feel like he’s "represented in the binary, period."
While both men agreed that Americans have made some social progress over the years, JVN contended that the fight for equality actually goes back further than people may realize. He added that that "we will never know their names," as they pre-dated that current LGBTQ+ rights movement. To keep the momentum going, however, he had a suggestion of a jumping off point for the TV host.
"What’s really important for you is that you feature people like me so that other young people and other non-young people, important decision-making people can see that people who don’t look like them and don’t talk like them can be seen as people and not something to be scared of," JVN poignantly added.
With Season 2 of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction — which featured Kanye West, Ellen DeGeneres, Tiffany Haddish, Lewis Hamilton and Melinda Gates — having premiered on May 31, it certainly gives Letterman something to consider in the future.
As for what lies ahead of JVN, Queer Eye‘s Kansas City-based Season 4 will become available to stream on Netflix beginning July 19. What’s more: JVN and fellow Fab Five members — Antoni Porowski, Bobby Berk, Karamo Brown, and Tan France — will also be back for a Season 5 in 2020, when they’ll lend their expertise to a new group of heroes in Philadelphia.
Netflix users have plenty more comedy, heartwarming moments, and fresh perspectives to look forward to from both Letterman and JVN.
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