Icelandic Comedian Ari Eldjárn Releases Netflix Special

Stand-up comedian Ari Eldjárn

Pardon My Icelandic is the title of comedian Ari Eldjárn’s Netflix special, which premiered yesterday, December 2. Ari referred to the special as a dream come true. In the programme, Ari pokes fun at Iceland and its claims of greatness “per capita,” as well as making light of the differences between Icelanders and their Nordic neighbours.

Comedian Ari Eldjárn, 39, has been performing standup for some 11 years. He has worked as a writer on Icelandic TV programmes and has performed in the UK and Australia.

Iceland Review interviewed Ari Eldjárn about his career in comedy and translating jokes between cultures.

Bingo to be Legal on Holidays

The Ministry of Justice is drafting a bill which would legalise bingo and other forms of entertainment that are currently illegal on major Christian holidays, RÚV reports. According to current Icelandic law, it is illegal to organise public entertainment such as raffles, bingo, and even dance parties on high holidays, including Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Good Friday, and Whit Sunday, and Easter Sunday.

While the law was put in place decades ago to ensure religious holidays could be celebrated without disturbance, few would feel it is still necessary. The bill, which is currently in consultation in the Ministry of Justice, is intended to better service those who would like to organise or partake in entertainment on red-letter days. Should it be passed, the only clause that would remain would be that such activities may not interfere with religious services or church activites.

Elías Þórsson, public relations project manager for the Bishop’s Office of the National Church of Iceland says the matter will be discussed at a synod this weekend. The Bishop of Iceland will refrain from comment on the matter before that time.

Iceland Ranked Second in Online Entertainment Purchasing

Iceland is ranked second in Europe in most online entertainment purchases, RÚV reports. According to the statistics released by Eurostat and compiled by Statistics Iceland, 50% of Icelandic internet users purchased a film or music online last year. Sweden came in number one, but only just barely: 51% of Swedish internet users purchased a film or music online in 2017. Luxembourg, Norway, and Great Britain round out the top five.

Iceland and Norway currently account for the highest proportion of internet usage in Europe. Ninety-eight per cent of Icelandic and Norwegian citizens use the internet on a regular basis.

Two Thirds of Icelanders Have Netflix

Two out of every three Icelandic residents have access to Netflix at home, according to a recent MMR survey. The data represents a big change since two years ago, when only one third had access to the service. RÚV reported first.

Young people seem most enthusiastic about the media provider: 90% of people between the ages of 18 and 29 have access to Netflix in their home. In comparison, just 24% of seniors have access to Netflix.

Netflix access is more common in the Reykjavík capital area than in rural Iceland, and access rates show a positive correlation with income levels. Politically speaking, supporters of the Pirate Party and the Reform Party are the most likely to have access to Netflix in their homes, with about three out of every four answering affirmatively. Progressive Party supporters are the least likely to, with only about half using the service at home.

Unruly and Loud

The accordion, or harmonica in Icelandic, has a long history in Iceland, even longer than many might suspect. For decades an Icelandic party wasn’t a decent party without someone pulling out their harmonika, or simply nikka, to keep the music going. Family reunions often had multiple accordion players, and county feasts did not lack them either. Even though its popularity appears to be dwindling in recent years, it has had quite an impact on Icelandic music and culture.

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