Durst Delivers Laughs When We Need Them Most

I was fortunate enough to win tickets to “Will Durst and Friends” at the Marsh in San Francisco last night. On a Tuesday night? Yes, Durst’s show is only on Tuesdays.

See, it’s political humor, so he decided he’d keep cracking jokes every week until the first Tuesday in November, when we’ll all be sitting around the television biting our nails wondering who will be our president.

Plus, it’s a good excuse to go out on a Tuesday.

First off, despite the title, it’s a solo show. And,  unlike most performances at the Marsh, it’s not a monologue that’s constantly getting polished in order to become theater. It’s just stand-up comedy at its best. If you’ve seen Will Durst, then you know he’s the best political humorist around. And he’s been around for a long time. (Though he bemoans the fact that his Taft jokes no longer fly.) Of course, politicians generously continue to provide Durst with plenty of fodder. As Durst himself says, “You can’t make stuff up like this!”

Because his show isn’t wed to a static script, he’s able to update his show each week. And with all the political shenanigans in the news every day, there’s no lack of material. Last night we were treated to humor surrounding the now-famous Akin interview in which he explained how women who were “legitimately raped” didn’t get pregnant. Admitting that “normally rape and funny live in two different solar systems,” Durst didn’t let this comic opportunity pass him by. Awarding Akins with the Joe Biden “Foot-so-deep-in-his-mouth-he’s-probably-tickling-his-spleen-with-his-shoelaces” Lifetime Achievement Award, he pointed out that Akins is a member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. Which causes one to wonder what criteria a person needs to be considered qualified to lead the nation in matters of science. Certainly not a basic understanding of medicine…

“Will Durst and Friends” is not a self-revealing solo performance in the style of Dan Hoyle, Marga Gomez, and Don Reed—talented monologists whose stories have been developed on the Marsh stage. But if you want to laugh—and who doesn’t?—this is the show to see.

And if you can’t make it to the Marsh, check out his website, “The Will Durst Journal” http://www.willdurst.com/ where he puts the “mock in democracy.”


Feeling stupid—a sign of things to come?

So I arrived at the Oakland Museum, found a parking spot immediately, and was almost right on time for my writers’ group. I entered the dining area where I’ve met with the same three women for four years now, one Sunday a month.

Except there was nobody there. And I’m never the first one to arrive. I checked my calendar to make sure I got the right date. Yep, Sunday, August 19th. I started looking through my contact info for any of their phone numbers, but all I had was e-mails. I shot off a group e-mail on my iPhone asking whether I had marked the wrong day on my calendar.

I waited. But still no sign of any of them.

I called information and asked for the phone number for one of them, but the operator misheard me and gave me the number for someone whose first name sounded vaguely like Miriam’s last name. The weird thing is that she did live on the same street as Miriam, even though I had not provided the street address. Eventually I got a hold of Ruby, who confirmed that we were meeting next week, which of course, by this time, I’d pretty much figured out, since I’d been there half an hour without seeing anyone I recognized.

If this were the only time this had happened, I would write it off as bad luck. I must have marked the wrong weekend when we first scheduled it. No big deal, right?

Except that a few days ago I realized that I was supposed to appear for jury duty last Tuesday. I never even called the number the night before to find out if I should make the trip to the courthouse or not. If some court truant officer is trolling blogs looking for miscreants such as myself, please know that it was absolutely accidental and not some passive aggressive protest. I fully accept my responsibility as a good citizen, and part of that responsibility is surrendering myself to the long waits in courthouse holding rooms, wondering if I’ll get picked this time. I don’t even try to avoid jury duty. I think it might be kind of interesting.

But I forgot.

Botching two different appointments within a week is not good. What will I forget next?

And of course, it’s plain to me that this is not an unfortunate coincidence but a trend. In fact, I decide, it’s a sign. These two incidents point directly at an alarming fact—I’m losing it. Soon I will be leaving my keys in the fridge, missing dental appointments, and leaving my keys in the fridge. Or maybe I’ll just start repeating myself…

Thank goodness I no longer have a small child at home, or I would be leaving her in the car or at the grocery store. Shudder the thought that I might be an air traffic controller or a brain surgeon. Who knows what kind of havoc I would wreak?

So if you see me and sense I’m not all there, be kind. I probably won’t recognize you anyway due to my rapidly advancing dementia. Just smile at me and remember that once upon a time, I was one of those very organized types who had all her ducks in a row and didn’t understand people who missed appointments. Don’t worry—the irony is not lost on me. But wait until I turn to go before you laugh at me.