Elect to Laugh
Although Will Durst has been around since 11/4/74, he wasn’t on my radar until the 2012 election, when a subset of particularly knowing folks began to pause and smile briefly around the words “Tuesday…. Will Durst at the Marsh” when reciting schedules, in a way that could make you drip with envy. Just as in 2012, in 2016, he’s at the SF Marsh every Tuesday. On that first November Tuesday in 2012, Durst recalled, someone from the audience yelled the news of Obama’s victory. He makes no promises such will happen this year.
If you’ve aged into that space where you’re on the persuasive side of political discussions simply by virtue of having seen more crap go down, you’ll appreciate Durst’s longer view of history. He’s so good that even if you’re suffering from the queasy nausea that goes with too much election year bs, you’ll still make room for him.
Watching this election mediated by Durst will get us through November.
Durst’s routine, which he writes himself, fits into the rare genre of intelligent comedy. Even the Tuesday date is part of the joke – tidily coinciding with Tuesday primaries and the general election. Durst recalled that during the 2012 election, someone called from the audience when Obama ‘s victory was confirmed, but didn’t promise the same would occur during this election year.
Durst’s brand of political humor doesn’t rely as much on one liners (although his writing can be mined for them), as much as it does on the person of Durst himself. Equal parts professor and clown, he even provides those missing factoids, including a reminder that Jeb stands for John Ellis Bush.
The other joy of watching Durst lies in watching a master at work. Quick to connect with the audience, he alternates knowing insults and ego stokes, always taking the audience’s pulse. This first Tuesday was more like a review night, as he recalled the course of events that brought us to this bizarre precipice of American politics.
Durst’s roughly 60 minute performance made one thing very clear: watching this election mediated by Durst will get us through November.
Photo credit: Pat Johnson