They descended upon Occupy Wall Street. They joined the Oakland general strike, and they even touched the levee in the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans — and it wasn’t all for laughs.
The envelope-pushing, activist-comedy troupe Laughter Against the Machine also wants to raise the level of awareness around numerous social and political issues.
Just in time for 2012, LATM heads back to The City for its “New Year’s Guerrilla Stand-up Comedy.”
“When we started this four years ago, we originally wanted to do a political comedy show that wasn’t necessarily just billing itself as ‘left’ or ‘left of liberal’ comedy show, because we had done that kind of show and they are not all what they are cracked up to be,” says activist-performer Nato Green, ex-union organizer and San Francisco native.
Green, W. Kamau Bell and Janine Brito make up LATM. As a troika, they’ve been highly praised for their wit and breadth of socio-political knowledge. Inspiring change is a major thrust.
“We just really want people to hear about what we care about right now,” Green says. “And a lot of it is Occupy and immigration and gay marriage, and whatever else comes down the pipe in the next week.”
“We’re not finished with racism yet, either,” adds Bell, known for his adept racial commentary.
“We’re deliberately clear that we are not ‘cheerleaders’ [for a cause]; only talking about things that we care about personally. And the audience is willing to trust us, even if they think, ‘That’s not my particular issue,’ at the moment.”
IF YOU GO
Laughter Against the Machine
Where: Phoenix Theatre, 414 Mason St., San Francisco
When: 7 p.m. today, 7 and 9:30 p.m. Friday, 7 and 10 p.m. Saturday
Tickets: $20 to $25
Contact: (800) 838-3006, www.LATMComedy.com