Jonathan Van Ness and Megan Stalter
It’s safe to say that the last 20 or so months haven’t been great for any of us. Now, at what we hope is the tail-end of a global pandemic, we could all use a good, positive laugh. And so it makes perfect sense to encourage those in need of a smile makeover to catch Jonathan Van Ness at the Kennedy Center on Oct. 1. As the most positive person on TV’s most positive reality show, Queer Eye, Van Ness is quite the optimist—and optimism is in limited supply right now. This time around, JVN brings his stand-up show, Imaginary Living Room Champion, to D.C. Stans are sure to point out that Imaginary Living Room Champion is different from both JVN’s podcast tour and his book tour (if you can’t make it to the Kennedy Center, consider listening to the audiobook of his 2019 memoir Over The Top: A Raw Journey To Self-Love—Van Ness narrates). As the perfect foil for Van Ness’ rose-colored glasses, the show’s special guest Megan Stalter combines parts of Amy Sedaris, Neil Hamburger, and Tim Robbins for a comedy style that’s firmly rooted in the absurdity of false positivity. While JVN can’t help but be sincere and hopeful, Stalter—who you may recognize as the beloved scene-stealing assistant in Hacks—often jokes about suicide. In an ideal world, headliners would champion acts with who they don’t share much in common, but in today’s world this type of double-billing is rare. If you want to see someone lampoon the tropes of a reality TV-based lifestyle alongside a success story of a reality TV-based lifestyle, this is the show for you. Jonathan Van Ness performs at 7 p.m. on Oct. 1, at the Kennedy Center, 2700 F St. NW. kennedy-center.org. $39–$99.