Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012

Will Durst In Milwaukee

By Russ Bickerstaff
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Several years ago, I ran into Will Durst at Linneman’s in Riverwest. “Will Durst, right? Clawed yourself to the middle and all of that?” He nodded, smiled and said hello. It couldn’t’ve seemed more casual a meeting for someone who had been on national television doing political comedy for years. 

Born in Milwaukee, Durst went to UWM (and claims he would have graduated had it not been for all of the parking tickets.) He want on to make a name for himself nationally. As I'd quoted back to him at Linneman's a few years ago, he’d gone on record as having, "clawed his way to the middle," professionally. Never really a big name political satirist, he remains one of those guys most people in the nation would recognize if they saw or heard perform but probably wouldn’t know by name alone. 

Though he lives elsewhere, he never really lost touch with Milwaukee. He used to be kind of a regular on the comedy stage at Summerfest. He brings his one-man show to Next Act Theatre later on this month. The show is called Elect To Laugh. According to cut-and-paste blurbs in other markets, Durst is looking to blur the traditional boundaries between stand-up comedy and theatre with a blend of monologues, commentary and the occasional rant. Okay, but as all of those are essentially spoken word, it really doesn’t sound all that different from a standard political stand-up comedy thing . . . but by opening it up to being conceptually defined as theatre, Durst does open himself up to performing at venues not necessarily associated with stand-up. It’d be really interesting to see him perform at Next Act’s new space with the intimate thrust stage that’s capable of being kind of informal while still feeling distinctly theatrical. The next presidential election isn’t that far off. Isn’t it time we heard from Durst again?

Will Durst’s Elect To Laugh comes to the Next Act Theatre on 255 South Water Street at 8pm on Friday, January 20th. Tickets are $20. For ticket reservations, visit Milwaukeecomedy.com. 

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