Campus Profile: Local Christian Republican Good for Some Laughs

SF State R.A. Moonlights as a Stand-up Comic

by Angela Bacca, staff writer

JANUARY 25, 2007 5:51 PM

Nathan Jackson gets laughed at for being a Christian-Republican virgin – after all that’s his job.

Jackson, the third floor resident assistant in Mary Ward Hall here on campus. He’s tall, with blonde hair, blue eyes, and just plain “cute” with his dopey smile, puppy-dog eyes and generally affectionate demeanor. But he isn’t your typical door sniffing, patrolling, spirit pushing R.A. Jackson is one of the elite, up-and-coming stand-up comics on the San Francisco scene.

After practicing at local open mics for only eight months, Jackson beat out over 80 other Bay Area comedians – some seasoned veterans – to make it to the 50 Mason Comedy Competition finals. Though he didn’t win, his progress was unprecedented, especially for someone who is working with all odds against him.

Jackson was raised in La Crescenta in Los Angeles County. His father was an Anglican pastor and his mother a homemaker.

“It can get confusing to have a father who’s your father and your father,” joked Jackson, in reference to his upbringing.

His childhood has proven extremely inspirational to him, however.

A good deal of his material is based on his devout Christian faith – including his decision to wait until marriage to have sex – and on being a Republican in San Francisco. This should be a recipe for disaster by anyone’s standards.

Jackson’s saving grace, in the eyes of his “hippie-liberal” San Franciscan audience, is his charisma coupled with his quick wit. In fact, Jackson tends to get funnier when the audience wants to hate him. They boo and curse with disgust the minute he mentions the word “Republican,” and flinch when he follows that up with the word “Christian.”

Every time, Jackson vows to make them eat their words, and they do. In fact, not only do they eat them, they laugh too. He thrives under scrutiny, his best sets seem to always start off with the audience hating him.

His wit and charisma may be what wins audiences over, but it’s his dedication that will make him a success. Even his co-R.A., Amanda Green, who admits to getting irritated at covering Jackson while he is off at shows, admires his hard work and his quick ascent to notoriety in the comedy scene.

“Other comics actually know his name,” she said.

Jackson juggles his R.A. duties, maintains a 3.5 grade point average and somehow works three to six shows a week into his schedule.

Veteran comics on the scene are in constant admiration of Jackson’s dedication.

“I’m surprised I’m even friends with him,” said Julian Vance, a stand-up comic, “because I hate everything about him.”

Jackson admits that he sometimes stresses himself out. Being an R.A. and a full-time student is demanding enough, but fitting in with the average San Francisco college student could seem challenging, with his political views, religious beliefs and status as a resident assistant. He doesn’t seem to have too much of a problem with it though, he actually uses it as inspiration at times.

He does admit to occasionally being frustrated by the pressure to conform.

“Girls think my virginity is ‘cute,’ they’re always trying to be the one to take it,” he said.

Jackson makes it clear, however, that his personality is no gimmick. He has strong faith and strong opinions, and he is proud of it. What is truly surprising about Jackson is his unapologetic character. He won’t condemn or preach to anyone about their lifestyle choices, but he will share all the things he loves about his lifestyle with anyone who will let him.

After seeing his stand-up, one thing is apparent: he thrives on stage, he loves the craft of eliciting laughter and he wants to see you smile.

You can find a list of upcoming shows for Nathan Jackson at http://www.myspace.com/nathanjacksoncomedy. You can see free, local, live stand-up comedy at The Canvas coffee shop on the corner of Ninth Avenue and Irving Street every Tuesday night, or at The Brainwash Café/Laundromat at the corner of Seventh and Folsom streets every Thursday night.

» E-mail Angela Bacca @ abacca@sfsu.edu

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