Friday, August 17, 2007

PLAY: "Will Durst: The All-American Sport of Bipartisan Bashing"

I really enjoyed Will Durst's show, but in the spirit of bipartisan bashing, I'm going to start this review with a critique: don't ever start your one-man show with a video montage. Everyone there (1) already knows who you are, (2) doesn't care who you are, or (3) got a free ticket. Along the same lines, don't spend the next ten minutes telling the audience what your show isn't: I know I'm not watching Avenue Q; if the rest of the audience doesn't, what makes you think they'll believe you? Truth is, Will, the list of segments from your show includes numbers ranging from "Quagan" (Can you guess which two Presidents had a secret love baby named Bush?) to "Wrong As Wyoming Sushi" (and other oxymora, like ""). Of course, your show also isn't very Bipartisan or All-American: how can it be, with skits like "Impeachment? Hell No. Impalement." Granted, you can make a show by just reading quotes from our Idiot-In-Chief all night long, you can mock his resolve ("as resolute as rectal cancer"), and you can laugh at his IQ ("He was provided with faulty intelligence? [beat] Well, DNA's a bitch."), but if the best joke you have about Democrats is that they're hard to make fun of because they're like a vacuum, then you're not Bipartisan.

What Durst is (see? don't talk about what your show isn't), is a very likable guy, with a Bill Murray-like charm. He starts as a hunched-over, mopey schlub, a self-effacing wise-guy; then stands erect, breaking his deadpan to cackle maniacally; and is suddenly an average Joe again. Unlike other political satirists who lord their intelligence (Dennis Miller), bask in the ridiculous (Bill Maher), indulge in innocence (Jon Stewart), or break out apoplectic antics (Lewis Black), Durst is just an observant fellow who reads the news and saves it for a rainy day. (Don't believe me? His set is a throne made of old papers.) The only thing that really disappointed me after Durst got rolling is that he didn't mock Karl Rove's retirement, which was announced that morning, even though one of his segments was "Today's Headlines." Now, I'm no political humorist, but you'd think Durst could've mentioned something from the comic gold inherent in Rove's plans to begin his retirement with some "dove hunting."

Well, perhaps by the time you see this show, he'll have worked it in. He is, after all, such a good sport.

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