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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Will Durst Caters to Baby Boomers in the Bay Area

Posted By on Tue, May 21, 2013 at 2:17 PM

click to enlarge Will Durst - COURTESY OF THE MARSH
  • courtesy of the Marsh
  • Will Durst

In his new one-man show at the Marsh Theater on Valencia, comedian Will Durst, 61, uses technology designed not to spook any Baby Boomers in the audience -- an overhead projector.

In Boomeraging: From LSD to OMG, Durst clearly enjoys himself, riffing on getting older in the face of a youth-obsessed culture. Durst's last show at the Marsh, Elect to Laugh, played for 41 weeks, from Super Tuesday to Election Night. After doing what he's most famous for, political humor, Durst is delighted to have a chance to do material about being seen as pieces of furniture by younger people or repeating phrases your parents said that you swore would never come out of your mouth.

"It's so liberating because I can deal with the evergreen," Durst said. "I can talk about recollections and observations."

Durst thought this was a good time to do the show.

"I'm still at the point where I'm aging but I don't feel like I'm aged," he said. "I can still see the humor about becoming older."

The subject is one that people want to hear about, in part because people often remember only the good things about the past, Durst said.

click to enlarge Will Durst - PATTI MEYER
  • Patti Meyer
  • Will Durst

"Everybody has the nostalgia for not being so frenetic as we are now," he said. "Today's pace is a bitch."

Most generations may not be wild about growing older, but particularly the Boomers, Durst said. "We did create the youth culture and demanded to be heard and then we were heard," Durst said. "We have that activism, and we still feel like we will not be muted."

People have really responded to the material, Durst said.

"I went on Facebook and mentioned that the kids are missing out, and it just went crazy," he said. "I got like 500 responses to one little thing. I had never done anything that touched people like that."

People often remember only the good things about the past, Durst said.

His favorite thing about this show: How audiences have reacted to the stories. "Once in a while I'll get a squeal of laughter of someone seeing themselves or remembering a time," he said.

It's always the personal stories people like most, Durst added. He first noticed that when he started doing political comedy.

"I had all this clever stuff, and I would do this one bit about my wife and how I forgot her name," he said. "That's the only thing people remembered after the show."

Durst, a five-time Emmy nominee who writes a nationally syndicated humor column, works hard on his humor.

"I tell a lot of jokes -- every line has a joke or word play or a call back," he said. "I spent 32 years in stand up, and I learned a lot of ways to tell a joke. And I'm able to do a joke every line and also propel the narrative."

Boomeraging: From LSD to OMG plays on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. through June 25 at the Marsh Theater, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd St.), S.F. No performance June 4. Admission is $15-$35.

For events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook.

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Emily Wilson


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