Satire on Fire: Will Durst Crash Landing in Novato

Bay Area's political comic genius to dish out dollops of snark Thursday at Rolling Hills Club.

Twisting a cliche, listening to Will Durst fire off jabs during election season is like a watching a fourth-grader run loose at with a $100 gift certificate.

Durst has been called the modern-day Will Rogers, the 21st Century Mort Sahl and, as the New York Times labeled him, "Quite possibly the best political satirist working in the country today."

You want to laugh at our government? A burst of Durst is all you need. You can get a close-up dose at 8 p.m. Thursday in Novato; Durst, with support from Kellen Erskine, will hold court at . Click here to score $20 tickets.

Novato Patch caught up with Durst on the phone last week.

Are we on an up trend or a down trend with political humor in terms of public consumption?

It's not as good as it was during the Bush administration.

It seems that Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have helped reach a younger mass audience for political satire, which in turn might spike interest for all other satirists.

It's definitely popular. There has always been 1 or 2 percent of people out there interested in it. I think Colbert and Stewart and that HBO guy have hooked into it pretty good. That percentage of the audience will always be interested. My generation was more interested because we had the draft, the Vietnam War.

I saw that you provide "comedy for people who read or know someone who does," according to your website. People are reading a lot more than they used to, but it's mostly other people's Facebook posts and Tweets. How has social media changed your job?

It's made me a better joke writer because I'm trying to get out of a joke in 140 characters or less. I try to send out a joke every day (on the website). Also, that's what the column does for me: It makes me write. I need that enforced deadline.

There's probably no end to the satirical possibilities if you look at the national political scene — Congress, the president, what have you. How localized can you get with your material?

If I'm in an area for, like, a week — like for instance I'm working club in D.C. (last week) — then by Saturday night I'll have a good couple minutes of what's happening locally. There was a time when I missed doing comedy clubs full-time because I would be there for a week and really immerse myself. I'd always have a couple by the end of the week. You know, fire off some insurgent strikes.

How much are you on the road these days?

Right now it's about 50-50, half on the road and half back in the Bay Area. I'm doing a lot of corporate gigs, like as a keynote at a dinner. That's good work.

What's your knowledge about Novato?

Oh, I love Novato. I visit all my cop friends and the guys from the fire department. It's a great little bedroom community. I know they have a theater downtown that they're hopefully going to get open again. That's always good to hear.

What's it like doing a gig at a health club?

The guy who produces these shows, Jonny Arnett, does a good job. He set up a gig at another health club and it ended up pretty good.

Is it too early to talk about the race for the White House? What's your reading on that?

If I had my druthers, I think I would have Hilary vs. Santorum, but I think we're stuck with Obama-Romney. Romney is so hard to get a fix on. He's so squishy. Trying to figure him out is like trying to glue Jello to a sponge.

Tom Walsh May 15, 2012 at 10:43 PM
"... like trying to glue Jello to a sponge." Classic.


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