Monthly Archive for: ‘June, 2014’

Comic Will Durst’s solo show on aging kills crowd

Woody’s Rating: ★★★★★

Stand-up comedian Will Durst, not exactly standing up.

Clownish Geoff Hoyle created an ingenious one-man show, “Geezer.” It featured multiple characters and a storyline.

Will Durst apparently doesn’t need either.

His uproarious 85-minute monologue, “BoomeRaging: From LSD to OMG,” is all about him and his aging process.

Artfully skewed.

As stand-ups love to say, he killed.

The gray-haired, gray-goateed comic in gray suit and white sneakers was so hysterically funny recently that half a dozen folks in front of me often doubled up with laughter and nearly fell off their seats in Petaluma’s Cinnabar Theater.

As a baby boomer, the 62-year-old confesses, life once was filled with sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll — “now, naps.”

Folks his age are still doing drugs, he says, “only now there’s a co-pay.”

And urinating three times a night, he informs his audience, is “highly effective for home security.”

Durst’s rapid-fire delivery meant that if one joke didn’t get me to laugh aloud, I had only to wait a second or two and the next undoubtedly would.

His rolling eyes, ersatz pained pauses and intentionally sloppy use of an ancient overhead projector all added to my pleasure.

I can’t remember being more amused by anything in years.

My stomach ached from laughing.

If you’re aching for a similar experience, you’ll  have to wait a while. But you can catch him, for at least a few minutes, on Sept. 14 in Golden Gate Park — where he’s been for the previous 33 years (the only performer to walk softly and carry a big shtick in every one of the annual Comedy Day events there).

Durst, most familiar for his political satire, couldn’t have known it but he, himself, had primed me for his Cinnabar show.

I’ve been a picnicking regular for two decades at the Comedy Day events that have drawn such names as Robin Williams, Whoopi Goldberg, Ellen DeGeneres, Dana Carvey, Paula Poundstone and Margaret Cho. And although I laughed at each of them, I never admired anyone more than Durst, whose political insights have been rightfully compared to Will Rogers and Mort Sahl.

As if to keep me in thrall, before dealing in “BoomeRaging: From LSD to OMG” with the daily technological hells we all face these days, Durst slyly injected a soupçon of politics by exposing presidential candidates as Tweedledum and Tweedledee.

Yet all of it, in a sense, might be considered just a preamble to his unique vision of The Meaning of Life, a seriocomic subtext on pulling the plug.

Durst, an always-dependable master of sarcasm and sardonic one-liners, is hardly a one-trick pony. A five-time Emmy nominee, he claims PBS fired him thrice. But he still writes a syndicated newspaper column, does broadcast commentaries and weekly podcasts, and has written three books.

His radio commercials about creating state jobs have become ubiquitous.

So has he.

He’s been on TV 800 times.

One of his previous one-man shows, “The All American Sport of Bipartisan Bashing,” ran for a while off-Broadway.

And he still regularly produces “The Will Durst Journal” online, under the rubric “Comedy for people who read or know someone who does.”

His heroes, he insists, remain the same as when he was 12 — Thomas Jefferson and Bugs Bunny.

In a moment of pure weakness, the acerbic Durst revealed his hobbies include pinball, a lifelong passion of my own. Oh My God, could that be the underlying reason I’ve liked him so much?

Upcoming one-man shows at Cinnabar, 3333 Petaluma Blvd. N., right off Hwy. 101, include a revival of “Wretch Like Me,” David Templeton’s coming-of-age tale July 25 and 26, and “I Am My Own Wife,” with Steven Abbott playing 40 roles Feb. 6-15. Information: (707) 763-8920 or cinnabartheater.org.

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