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Broke-Ass of the Week: Comedian & Labor Organizer Nato Green

Updated: Oct 14, 2014 14:31
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photo by Kimberly Sandie

San Francisco native comedian and activist Nato Green loves pie. That’s why he sticks his fingers in all the pies. He’s a member of what SF Weekly named “San Francisco’s best comedy show,” The Business, which is now every Friday at 730 at the Hemlock Tavern.
The Business has been running for five years in the Mission District, where it became a pillar of San Francisco’s alternative comedy scene, known for the crew of comics there every week telling hilarious personal stories and experimenting, the rotating roster of guest comics, and the second live mic in the back of the room that the comics use to interrupt each other and discuss/enhance/ruin each others’ bits in real time.
The Business recently changed lineup, venue, and night of the week. The weekly regulars now include Nato, David Gborie, Natasha Muse, Jules Posner, and Bucky Sinister.
Nato’s other favorite pies include his podcast The Nato Sessions, writing humorous political commentaries such as this one in VICE about how great it is to be a San Francisco landlord, and activism. Oh, and being a dad of 6-year old twins.

Name: Nato Green.

Age: 39

Occupation: Semi-functional hybrid of comedian/writer/union negotiator.

What neighborhood do you live in?: Bernal Heights.

Best money saving tip: Pack a lunch.

What do you refuse to spend money on?: Parking garages. I will walk several blocks out of my way to not pay to park in a lot or garage. Also, interest on a credit card. Late fees at the video store. (When that was still a thing. Go to Lost Weekend Video!) I hate paying for nothing.

Most expensive thing you’ve ever bought: My house. It is the most expensive thing I ever bought, but did not buy it with my own money. Mostly, I paid for it with the kind of sketchy mortgage that crashed the economy.

How’d that feel?: Dizzying. When you buy a house, one of the papers you sign is one that projects how much you will have paid, including interest, by the time you pay off the moneylenders in the temple 30 years hence. That is how I became a millionaire of debt. Also, when you own a home in San Francisco, it’s automatically like being a feudal lord. You start getting lots of free stuff and deals that I never got as a renter.

Favorite cheap eat: Taqueria Vallarta. The burritos are fantastic, and the taco stand reminds me of Mexico City without the kidnappings. They appear to have questionable hygiene practices, but I think that’s what makes it so tasty.

Favorite dive bar: My weekly standup show The Business moved to the Hemlock Tavern. The good and virtuous people of the Hemlock may take umbrage at being called a dive bar, but it scratches that itch for me.

In the 90s, my fellow comedy-businessman Bucky Sinister worked at The Chameleon on Valencia, where Amnesia is now. In the 90s, I was involved in unionizing bike and car messengers into the longshoremen’s union. “Unionizing” involved a lot of hanging out in bike messenger bars. With all due respect to Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, the dream of the nineties isn’t alive in Portland. It’s at the Hemlock Tavern.

Best deal you’ve ever gotten: Favorite free thing to do? Sit on top of Bernal hill, and point out San Francisco General Hospital to people, and tell them that back in the nineteenth century, “Chinese patients were shunted off to a smallpox (or ‘pest’) hospital, originally operated exclusively for the Chinese and later designated as the Lazaretto or Lepers’ Quarters.” San Francisco values!

If you woke up a millionaire, what’s the first thing you’d buy?: Dinner at French Laundry and my own house.

Despite not having money, do you still love your life?: As much as any Jew can. I’ve known rich people and their lives look miserable to me. No, thank you. I’m sticking with the 99%.

Do you own my book?: No, but I think I still have one of the original pre-book zines sitting around.

Best hangover cure: Masturbating in the shower.

Are you a hipster?: No. It looks exhausting.

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle, "an SF cult hero":SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.