WHEN THEY GO LOW...we go to political comic Will Durst
By Ed Tasca
Who doesn’t like a good political satire, especially these days, when millions of dazed North Americans are actually part of the satire and don’t know it.
Will Durst, acclaimed comedian, has been ragging politics, “left and right” for decades now. Followers are legion. In a brief interview I had with him, he told me in his sincerest, dusky voice that he calls himself “a cross between an editorial cartoon and a pundit.” Which to me is not much of a mixed marriage.
So, for an exhilarating, live gig at Lakeside Little Theater, as political truth’s “stand-up guy,” Will has agreed to bring his views of the irrational and absurd aspects of politics, democracy’s future and whatever topics are topping the headlines. He also offers his various takes on human behavior (especially when it isn’t), and weaves it all into an evening of laughs and lampooning. His mantra, “You couldn’t make this stuff up,” (also the title of one of his five audio recordings) pretty much sums up his style of telling it like it is – an homage to some of his idols, Will Rogers, Lenny Bruce and George Carlin.
Like most comics, Will’s work is, in a personal sense, a therapy, but Will also considers himself now half comic and half therapist—which naturally puts him in the same category as my last therapist. Will believes it’s also a form of therapy for his audience as well, who come to comic shows and clubs for the relief, for that often-unspoken sense that the world is farcical, especially the world of politics and that any personal suffering can be anesthetized for a brief two hours or so by listening to a damn good comic indulgently take on the pompous and pretentious. Wherever common sense is being bullied by the outrageous and the bizarre, Will is there.
He even bills himself as a therapist, but, in this case, the one who does all the talking, while we get to laugh instead of cry. So the healing can begin. “The only way you can control people is to lie to them,” L. Ron Hubbard said famously. And Will’s out to troll all and any who believe such.
The New York Times calls Will “possibly the best political comic in the country.” Fox News agrees “he’s a great political satirist,” while the Oregonian hails him as a “hilarious stand-up journalist.” He’s done it all: books, shows, radio and television commentary, acting, articles, podcasts, but is still best known for his stand-up performances. He also writes a weekly political humor column and has co-hosted a monthly talk radio show, which aired on a progressive talk radio station, KQKE, giving you an idea of where his political sympathies may lie, even though he wrote a book on the “art of bi-partisan bashing.” His popularity ran so high, Will actually ran for mayor of San Francisco several years back.
His resume is too extensive to record here. The Ojo would have to sell even more massage parlor ads to balance it. He’s contributed to Independent Media Institute’s Alternet.org and the Huffington Post, as well as serving as contributing editor to National Lampoon, George, and the New York Times. He’s appeared on television over 800 times including Late Night with David Letterman, Comedy Central, HBO and Showtime. He’s a 5-time Emmy nominee and 7-time nominee for the American Comedy Awards’ Stand-Up Comedian of the year.
A truly great comic is defined by his capacity to keep the jokes coming. And Will answers that qualification big time by staying on top of the news. So let me recommend that you don’t miss this. “Because when they go low, Will straightens them up.”
Dates for his four shows are February 1st through the 3rd at Lakeside Little Theater.