NY comic returns to Pike, laughs against the machine, gentrification and grumpy baristas

Hari Kondabolu doesn’t want to give Caffe Vita baristas his money. At least, that was the premise for this former Seattleite’s joke about the often embittered coffee clerks on Capitol Hill.

“I wrote a letter which basically said I hoped her band, her boyfriend’s band or her friends’ band broke up,” said Kondabolu, “It was less of a joke and more of something I did.”

Kondabolu is a stand up comedian who has performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live and performed with John Oliver. He is a New York native but transplanted to Seattle in 2005, spending much of his time in the Central District and on Capitol Hill. He moved back to the East Coast in 2007 but he has a special appreciation for the Emerald City.

Kondabolu is back on the Hill this weekend in the comedy show Laughter Against the Machine with W. Kamau Bell and Nato Green Friday June 18 and Saturday June 19 at the Balagan Theatre. Tickets are available at Brown Paper Tickets.

“Whenever I come back to Seattle it’s a special thing,” Kondabolu said.

He said he doesn’t want to use the word “edgy” to describe his show but he appreciates Seattle and the Capitol Hill neighborhood for the residents’ ability to respond to thoughtful, deliberate comedians. 

He says his comedy is about finding simple ways to express big ideas while being as impactful and funny as possible. Kondabolu jokes about race and politics among other less serious topics like pop-culture and baseball.

“I am amazed by stand-up because people are so easily distracted,” Kondabolu said, “but there is still a market for it to watch one person speak into a microphone.”

“[The show] is going to be very blunt, that’s the thing about our shows,” he said. “The gloves are off. It’s not so much ‘republicans, boo’ we try to get into stuff, bigger issues. It’s politicized, not political.”

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