Nate Craig has come quite a way since leaving the Badger State. Since moving to L.A. more than 10 years ago, the Wisconsin-born comedian has become one of Bill Burr’s primary openers (and will be a voice on the upcoming season of Burr’s animated series, F Is For Family), he’s amassed a wealth of TV credits on shows like Comedy Central’s Roast Battle and Tosh.O, he’s written for Ridiculousness and A Prairie Home Companion, and acted opposite Emma Stone and Jonah Hill on the Netflix’s Maniac.
Through it all, however, he’s remained a stand-up comedian first and foremost. More importantly, the former Madison native has also remained loyal to his beloved Green Bay Packers. Before the comic makes the trip to his home state for a pair of shows at Milwaukee’s own Underground Collaborative this Saturday and Sunday night (and a “Home For The Holidays” performance at Madison’s Majestic Theatre on December 27), Milwaukee Record asked Craig about his thoughts on this year’s Packers squad, his experience as a diehard football fan living in L.A., and his playoff predictions.
Milwaukee Record: First off, how do you think this season has gone so far? Are you surprised with Green Bay’s record or with anyone in particular?
Nate Craig: I think they’re winning. We would have lost a lot of these games last year. And we’re pretty healthy for how late in the season it is. I love how the two tailbacks have progressed. I loved that they kept Pettine, but I’m not sure why we get run on like we do. I really don’t know what to expect from this team. I was at the Charger game and that was awful. I’m worried about the playoffs. We need to get the two seed.
MR: Being from Madison, I’m sure you had a preferred spot to watch games. What were your Madison go-tos, and what are some things you miss about watching games in Wisconsin?
NC: I like watching games at home. Rarely do I watch a Packer game that matters at a bar. Badger games are a different story. I don’t get too worked up about college football. I used to love watching games at Alt n’ Bach’s, but they closed. Now I just go where my buddies want to go. The Main Depot and Sweet Home Wisconsin are my favorite bars by the Kohl Center.
MR: Was it hard to find somewhere to watch Packers games and to find other fans to connect with when you first moved to Los Angeles?
NC: Sort of. My first year here was Favre’s last year [in Green Bay]. So that was awesome. They were supposed to suck, but wound up being on TV all the time. I don’t really need to watch games with anyone. If necessary, I go to a bar by myself. It’s almost more fun that way.
MR: Nobody is as obsessed with football as people in Wisconsin, but what is L.A. like in terms of NFL fandom? Are most people oblivious to it or does the fact there are transplants from all over the country actually make it more interesting than being around a bunch of like-minded people?
NC: Outside the Lakers and the Dodgers, L.A. just doesn’t care about sports—period. I always like being around different thinkers, so yeah [it’s more interesting]. Sports or life, I enjoy that. Football-wise, L.A. is hilarious. It’s a total Raiders town with a decent amount of Rams fans, but everyone can agree to hate the Chargers.
MR: How have things changed since the city got two NFL teams again? It seems like the Rams have caught on—or caught on again, post-St. Louis stint—with some folks, but everyone is indifferent to the Chargers.
NC: People love the Rams. Rams games are fun too—real great mix of people, good vibe. I went to the Packer game last year and a few others. Why they thought moving the Chargers here was a good idea, I will never know. Watch, next year, when they play in that giant stadium, half the place will be empty. The league was all for the move and they’re going to have to tell the analysts not to talk about it. It will be comical. The Chargers had their own city and they pissed it away.
MR: There are Packers bars everywhere. So are there any dedicated Packers bars in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California that you like more than others?
NC: None that are real authentic. Except the Tattle Tail in Culver City. I think one of the owners’ ex-husband was from up north or something. But they aren’t serving summer sausage or old fashioneds or anything. It’s fun, but again, I don’t really like bars for games I care about. I like to pace and weep openly if necessary.
MR: Are there any other Wisconsin comedians or Midwestern natives you watch games with? Gareth Reynolds told us he texts about football with you sometimes. And I recall you talking about football with Iowa’s own Brooks Wheelan on your Entry Level episode.
NC: Oh yeah, there are some real funny Packer fans. Gareth is a real smart guy. Mary Mack and Tim Harmston are big Pack fans. Tom Clark and Jim Hamilton and I went to Game 4 of the NLCS last year—the one the Brewers lost in 13 innings, I think. They’re big Pack fans. I do my podcast, The Visitors Locker Room, with CJ Sullivan, but he’s an Eagles fan. We watch games.
MR: Any playoff predictions?
NC: Unfortunately, I don’t think this team has it. Unless the O-line starts getting more push or our receivers and tight ends start getting off the line quicker, we just seem to sputter on third down. The good news is, I really don’t know football and we’re still healthy and in position for a bye. I think we’ll lose the NFC championship game on the road. Again.
Nate Craig will perform at The Underground Collaborative at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 21 and at 7 p.m. on Sunday, December 22. He’ll also be headlining his “Home For The Holidays” show at Majestic Theatre in Madison on Friday, December 27.