In the years since 2008, many of the funniest comedians have made remarks about how they’re so glad that Bush is out of office that they won’t care that they won’t be able to write new Bush material. Ten minutes into Will Durst’s new album, he laments the loss of Bush for five minutes straight. And he has good reason too— about half of his jokes are centered around events that took place between 1998 and 2007, including a long list of verbatim Bush quotes.
Not to say that Bush quotes aren’t funny (and in Durst’s defense, we’re a bit late in reviewing this as it was released in March), but when there have been Bush quote calendars out for two years already, we’ve superseded the need for a comedian to recite them on stage. And while Durst introduces himself as a political comedian, he failed to tell the audience that he was going to just make base jokes about politicians, and fail to address actual politics. His jokes about conservatives come across with the same pithy dry wit expected of Keith Olbermann, and his jabs at liberals contain the same petty barbs that Rush Limbaugh has been storing up for years.
But there’s a flip side. Durst knows how to get a laugh. His delivery is solid, and even if some of the jokes are based on concepts we’ve heard before, he sometimes can work the angles and convince us we haven’t. And he does make astute points—though we have to wait until the end of the album for a lot of them.
I’m not talking about his distaste for PETA asking humans not to eat fish (“Fish eat fish!” is his cry) or about how he’s not sure assault weapons are legitimate hunting rifles (“You can cut butter with a chainsaw…”). Rather, it’s him mentioning that as a moderate, he had no representation amongst the TV pundits. He’s right. Punditry itself is pandering entertainment, not well-formed political discourse, and Durst taps into a rich vein when he mined this moderate pundit idea.
Instead of fleshing it out, however, he goes right back in for the easy laugh—presumably in an attempt to satisfy club patrons less willing to follow him through a dissection of political discourse in America. If you’re standing in a room of hyenas, sometimes it’s best to throw them steak instead of broccoli.
To snag yourself a copy of Will Durst’s Raging Moderate, just click the image below.