The 'Durst Case Scenario'?
Off the Cuff with political satirist Will Durst
Milwaukee-born political satirist Will Durst has been called half-therapist, half-comedian. His new show, “Durst Case Scenario,” brings comfort to those with similar political frustrations in an era of what the comedian calls PTSD (President Trump Stress Disorder). He will return to his native city for two nights of satirical humor, Sept. 22-23, at ComedySportz Milwaukee.
What are your connections to Milwaukee and how does it feel to be returning home to do a show?
I have many relatives still in Milwaukee, my brother is in Menomonee Falls and I visit him a lot. I love the 414 area code. It’s an undiscovered jewel and I always try to be a big community booster. I follow the Brewers, the Packers, the Bucks and the Badgers and I also went to UWM for seven years.
How did you first get a start with politics? What came first comedy or political satire?
I started at this little club that was right on Juneau Avenue called The Rusty Nail in 1974. In 1974 pretty much everything was political because of Vietnam, Watergate and Nixon. I didn’t do all political material onstage but I did do a lot just because it was what was going on. I was also interested in politics which I got from my step-dad and dad who read three plus newspapers a day. I just grew up thinking everybody did that.
How would you personally describe your upcoming show, “Durst Case Scenario”?
It’s just about what life is like during the time of Trump. This show is me and an overhead projector—I’m very old school. I have transparencies, maps, graphs and pictures of important characters all involved in the narrative. I have pretty much abandoned all pretenses of being bipartisan so this 85-minute show is me taking [Trump] to task. As he says, “I’m just counterpunching.” I’m going to play by his rules now.
What is your writing process? How do you produce material before a show?
I give myself deadlines. I write a commentary every week that goes out to various radio stations. So I need an enforced deadline. I’m still in high school; if it’s Monday morning I don’t start it until Sunday after “60 Minutes.” Last night I did a commentary and sent it out to 10 different radio stations and then this morning I wrote a column. I have two different voices: the columnist voice and the stand-up comic voice.
Is now a good time to be a political satirist or is Trump making it too easy?
People think that it’s so easy and that Trump is a gift for comedy but no, it’s hard because how do you parody a parody? It’s hard to focus on things because he tries to use chaos as fog and people’s attention spans are so short that they keep forgetting about the previous scandal. The hardest part is keeping up and keeping relevant. So there’s a lot of writing and rewriting.
How can readers follow you and your shows?
I put out a joke every day on Twitter and Facebook. You can catch up on videos and previous columns and commentaries on willdurst.com.