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Q&A with SF Political Comedian Nato Green

Nato Green

Nato Green

Originally published as part of My SF on Huffington Post SF

In a town where everyone wears their politics on their sleeves, every comedian is, in a sense, a political comedian. But Nato Green is in a league all his own. The San Francisco native (and HuffPost blogger) is a Marx-quoting former labor organizer who has taken his passion for politics and transformed it into a career as one of the city's most exciting comedic performers.

During this year's SF Sketchfest he will be hosting Iron Comic (imagine Iron Chef, except with jokes instead of ox heart and a slightly lower probability of accidental knife wounds). The event also features legendary performers Moshe Kasher, Maria Bamford, Michael Showalter, Michael Ian Black, Natasha Leggero and Andy Kindler.

HuffPost SF recently caught up with Green to hear about what it's like to tell jokes in one of the world's weirdest cities.

What do you like best about living in Bernal Heights? I like that it has a very community neighborhood feeling. You can walk a few minutes and be in the thick of things in the Mission, but there's a steep hill deterring too many people from trudging up there. I can hear the bar at El Rio from my bedroom, but the action doesn't actually come up to me.

As a lifelong San Franciscan, is there something you'd miss if you ever had to leave? I was working in New York last year [as a writer] on W. Kamau Bell's television show and I really missed high places. It's very difficult in New York, unless you know someone with a penthouse apartment or a rooftop garden, to get any elevation. I would find a public building, climb up a flight of stairs and just look out. I need to be able to go up to the top of Bernal Hill or climb the Filbert Street steps and see the city to really get the scope of it.

How did you get your start doing stand-up? I was a kid in San Francisco during the comedy boom in the 80s. Alex Bennett was on Live 105 radio doing the morning show and always hosted local stand-ups. Comedy Day in the park drew 50,000 people. Comedy Tonight was on KQED television. There were five full-time comedy clubs just within the city limits and maybe another five within the greater Bay Area. I started handing out at Cobb's [Comedy Club] when I was about 12 or 13 and I had a ringside seat to see a lot of the great comics that were coming through San Francisco.

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