#GreenShirtGuy: Tucson Comic Talks About the Laugh Heard 'Round the World

#GreenShirtGuy is taking his newfound internet fame in stride.
#GreenShirtGuy is taking his newfound internet fame in stride. Jimi Giannatti Photography

When Alex Kack awoke Tuesday morning, it seemed to be just another routine day for him. He threw on a black polo and some khakis and went to the barber to get his hair cut. He only changed into the now-famous green shirt by chance, because his cut left the black polo itchy.

Little did he know, he and his green shirt would be internet stars by the following morning, even featured on Late Night With Stephen Colbert.

At a City Council meeting called to discuss an initiative to make Tucson a sanctuary city, a woman later identified as conservative activist Jennifer Harrison of the AZ Patriots interrupted the proceedings yelling, "respect our laws!"

Wearing a Make America Great Again hat, Harrison came equipped with a homemade poster board and her smartphone, which she used to record herself during the meeting.

Kack, who was sitting in front of the woman, began to laugh uncontrollably, his entire body convulsing with amusement, as Harrison and her companion – a dude sipping on a Big Gulp – were escorted out of the meeting.

KVOA reporter Nick VinZant caught it all on video.

Kack, a longtime activist and comedian in Tucson, was there in support of the Sanctuary City Initiative. He was in no way planning to go viral, to become #GreenShirtGuy.

"If it wouldn't have been a circus, I would have had nothing to laugh at," Kack, who is 28, said in an interview with Phoenix New Times. "People really took time out of their day to go interrupt a City Council meeting to just yell crazy, ignorant, racist, hate-filled stuff in the most absurd manner they could possibly do it."

The insanity of the situation is just as far-fetched as his subsequent internet fame — he was the No. 1 trending topic on social media the next day. Celebrities like Mark Ruffalo and Chrissy Teigen even echoed his giggles.

For a comedian whose professional work it is to make people laugh, the joke was not lost on Kack. "It's such a different type of attention. I'm still not sure if it's real," he said.

Kack has been working full-time on the sanctuary campaign, which is called Tucson Families Free and Together.  He discussed how the recent political climate has affected Americans. "There's always been bigotry and hatred in this country — we can't side step that," he said. "But the magnifying glass that has been placed on it has affected the country both on a large scale and within communities."

Amidst the divisive rhetoric and juxtaposition of ideas, #GreenShirtGuy just wants to shed light on the mission he supports. "Let's get this initiative passed this fall, then I plan to take a very long nap."
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Natasha Yee is a freelance writer and yoga teacher who likes to explore the city. She considers the thesaurus her best friend.
Contact: Natasha Yee