Thursday, August 16, 2007

Will Durst: The All-American Sport Of Bipartisan Bashing

photo: Jason E. Grossman

In an age when smug irony and sarcasm characterize most political comedy, Will Durst's relaxed, regular-guy approach seems almost revolutionary. Declaring himself a moderate near the top of his eighty-minute show, and delivering his comic observations and barbed one-liners with so much affable, conversational warmth that you may be tempted to talk back to him, Durst puts us at ease by passing the "just folks" authenticity test. Then the gloves come off. The sharply written, highly entertaining show takes swings both left and right (okay, more right; Durst admits that it's tougher to skewer the Democrats because you can't "make fun of a vacuum") with a few special knockout punches aimed squarely for George W. Bush. (One of the best among them shows Durst at his most wryly amusing: he simply reads actual Bush quotes verbatim. Example: "Increasingly, more and more of our imports are coming from overseas.") Once we're past the awkward but brief video introduction that opens the show, the evening's one misstep, the show never hits anything that could be called a lull. Durst may convince as a smart and cool regular Joe but make no mistake, he's got a showman's intuition for the mood of an audience and knows when to move a bit along. More often, he's got to worry about slowing one down, because many of his bits are so delicious that we want to savor them. His long list of political oxymorons is a case in point: "Republican Ethics Committee", "Democratic Leadership Council", "FOX News". The show is advertised as political comedy for people who have had it with current politics. I'll go further than that: Will Durst is a comedian for people who have had it with current political comedy.

Also blogged by: [Aaron]

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