Stars, Stripes and Laughs: Political comic Will Durst on how to make fun of Obama | Culture Features | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

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Stars, Stripes and Laughs: Political comic Will Durst on how to make fun of Obama


Will Durst takes a seat on his newspapers for the week.The exhausting election of 2008 has ended and political comedian Will Durst is in Hawaii. It's not that Durst, one of the nation's premier political satirists and a self-described "raging moderate" found his brain overloaded by broken record of stump speeches and hotheaded pundits, forcing him a few thousand miles into the Pacific to seek refuge, but rather he was in the islands to celebrate his 27th wedding anniversary. But still, the break has given him a chance to reflect on a campaign that was hardly light on the comedy.

"I don't know if it was the funniest election, but I think I was able to get more mileage out of it. The funniest thing was that I could never figure out who the undecided voters were and why they were undecided. Were they waiting for Barack to get whiter or McCain to get younger?" Durst says.

Durst's success over the years has relied on his "funny because it's true" style of deeply observant humor and his ability to bash both sides of the aisle. And he does all of this with the knowledge of a high-profile political columnist and the hilarity of a top-tier comic, which he actually is. And Durst is never short on information to comment on, seeing as how he's known to take five different newspapers in a single day.

"I kind of think of myself as a standup-columnist or maybe a living editorial cartoon," Durst says in an attempt to self describe his profession.

On his current tour that lands him at the Tower Theatre on Friday night, Durst says he plans to give a wrap up of the 2008 election and also a preview of what's to come with the Obama administration. Like many comics, political or not, Durst has thrived on the easy-to-harvest comedic material that's poured profusely from the spout of the Bush administration for the past eight years.

"Bush for political comedy was the gold standard. Thirty years from now we'll be making fun of presidents and we'll say 'this guy is ridiculous, but he's no George Bush," Durst says.

But now, with a new crew coming in January, he says he's going to have to work a little harder to find material. Durst says that Obama is painfully careful in his actions and has yet to provide any pretzel choking, dyslexic speech or any major moments of public idiocy to fuel the type of golden material Bush has granted Durst and his colleagues. That said, Durst is still optimistic he'll be able to figure out a way to lampoon the Obama administration.

"With Clinton, you had a corpulent womanizer. But with [Obama], there's nothing. The kids are so charming that Norman Rockwell wouldn't buy into this," Durst says, adding his approach to tackling Obama, "I'm going to focus on his half white side. I'm not going to touch his half black side."

Of course, with a guy like Durst on the phone, we just have to ask how he would have proceeded had the Republicans taken the White House. And as expected, Durst delivers.

"Palin - that was pure hubris. She had no governor on her ambition. The governor had no governor," he says, bursting into laughter, seemingly quite delighted by his own quip. "There could have been a lot of material, but I don't know if the country would have survived. I'm willing to take the bullet for the country."

Will Durst

8pm Friday, November 21. Tower Theatre, 835 NW Wall St., 317-0700. $25/advance, $28/day of show. Tickets at Tower box office or

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