I got my start technically in college. I joined the improv group at Columbia University during my undergrad. I knew what improv was, I had never done it, and it was really, really fun. And that's also where I met most of my best friends, and my comedy partner Gabe Liedman, I met him there. When we graduated, we started doing stand-up together.

You're doing a number of different shows at this year's Sketchfest. Which one would be the best one to take a first date?

Oh, hmm. There's not going to be a difference in format really. The one on Saturday is called Big Terrific because it is a version of the show that Gabe Liedman, Max Silvestri, and I all started together. Both shows I'm hosting. They're all just stand-up shows. Maybe Saturday's the best one to bring a date to, because it's always nice to be around people who love each other. And Gabe and I and Max, we're close friends for forever, and Max lives in New York, and there's a lot of fun, playful energy in the air. And the shows we do at Big Terrific are all focused on making people laugh, not making fun of people. Your date won't get made fun of. That's not my style.


Nate Bargatze performs Feb. 7 and 8 at various venues for SF Sketchfest; sfsketchfest.com/x/performers/nate-bargatze. Ron Funches performs Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 at various venues for SF Sketchfest; sfsketchfest.com/x/performers/ron-funches. Jenny Slate performs Jan. 24 and 25 at various venues for SF Sketchfest; sfsketchfest.com/x/performers/jenny-slate. Kurt Braunohler performs Feb. 7 and 8 at various venues for SF Sketchfest; sfsketchfest.com/x/schedule.

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People might recognize you from Parks & Recreation on which you play a character Mona-Lisa. Have you seen the real Mona Lisa, the painting in France?

I have seen it. And like many people say, it's a lot smaller than you'd think.

What do you think she is smiling about?

I mean, I'm a comedian. I don't know.

Is there anything else you'd like to plug? What else are you working on?

Right now I have two television shows that are airing. You can see me on the Kroll Show on Comedy Central, and I'm also on House of Lies on Showtime. We had our first episode of that last Sunday.

What do you know about Kurt Braunohler?

I know Kurt, he's a dear friend of mine, he lives down the street from me. I think that he's incredibly hilarious, very unique, and beautiful inside and out. That's what I think. I love him. I love seeing him perform. I just did a show with him last Monday, he hosts a great show in L.A. with Kristen Schaal called Hot Tub. One of the things that most people expect from Kurt is something that's very high-energy and highly creative, maybe even a bit experimental, and new. Which is a great thing to do in comedy.

Kurt Braunohler

A veteran of Upright Citizens Brigade theater in New York, Kurt Braunohler's been in the comedy game since the '90s, in which time he's cultivated a reputation as a comic who's "hilarious, very unique, and beautiful inside and out." He's also not afraid of experimentation, creating high-energy, one-of-a-kind shows and performances. He's been to Sketchfest like a million (four) times before, and this year he's bringing his own podcast, The K Ohle, and his own stand-up showcase, Kurt Tub.

SF Weekly: How does Sketchfest compare to other festivals in which you've participated?

Kurt Braunohler: It's a really nice party. You get to see everybody you haven't seen in a long time, and it's like everybody in comedy is there for one of the weekends. Everybody's there, it's great.

What do you like to do when you come up to San Francisco?

I like to go up on top of that tower — what's it called?

Coit Tower?

Yes, the Coit Tower. I always go to the top of there and just look at everybody. And walk along the water usually.

How did you get your start in comedy, or if you'd prefer to answer a slightly different question, when and how did you first know you were funny?

I got my start in the late '90s in New York City, I started improvising at the Upright Citizens Brigade theater. Then I just did improv for a long time, and I did not start doing stand-up until seven or eight years ago. I just wish I had started stand-up earlier.

Why is that?

I like stand-up so much better than anything else. I wish I had it in my life before.

You're doing a number of different shows at this year's Sketchfest. Which one would be the best one to take a first date?

Oooooh. I think probably Kurt Tub. If you take a date out to my podcast taping, which is at 1 p.m., you're probably a youth pastor. Or you're a horrible alcoholic.

Your stand-up show is called Kurt Tub. In what ways is the show similar to a hot tub?

It's bubbling with fun, it's so hot with talent, it's wet with possibility. And it only fits five people.

Is there anything else you want to plug?

You can pick up my album, which just came out recently, How Did I Land?

Is that your first stand-up album?

It's my first. It's on the Kill Rock Stars label.

I'm interviewing Nate Bargatze. Do you know him?

I know Nate. He'll actually be on Kurt Tub. I love Nate. I think he's really funny. And he's very low-key, but in person I find him to be very excitable.

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