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March 18, 1952|
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
|Medium||Stand-up, television, radio, writing|
|Genres||Observational comedy, satire, political satire, black comedy, surreal humor, sarcasm|
|Subject(s)||American culture, everyday life, human behavior, American politics, popular culture|
Life and career
Durst was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He went to 14 different schools before graduating from Waukesha South High School, in Waukesha, Wisconsin. He then attended Waukesha County Technical Institute, University of Wisconsin, Waukesha County Campus, Marquette University, and the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee, but never graduated.
He started performing stand- up comedy at a weekly open mic at a bar in downtown Milwaukee called the Rusty Nail in 1974. He also gained onstage experience performing with various sketch groups such as "Same Player Shoots Again,' "Better Than a Sharp Stick in the Eye," and "Will Jon Rip Marian?" After studying with famed director Paul Sills in Milwaukee for two years at the Century Hall theater complex, Durst moved to San Francisco in 1979.
Durst writes a weekly political humor column that is syndicated by Cagle Cartoons. he also co-hosts a monthly talk radio show with former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown called The Will and Willie Show which for a year ran as a morning show on San Francisco's progressive talk radio station, KQKE.
He has performed at events featuring Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush, and Al Gore. He also performs stand up comedy at many events as a keynote speaker including a Governors Conference and a Mayors Convention. He was a correspondent for The Comedy Channel during the 1992 political conventions. His humor and commentaries emphasize his view of illogical and absurd aspects of politics, leadership, and human behavior. In 1987 he ran for mayor of San Francisco.
He writes several Internet columns, contributes to Independent Media Institute's Alternet.org and the Huffington Post on a regular basis, is a former contributing editor to National Lampoon and George, and has contributed to various periodicals such as the New York Times, The Funny Times and San Francisco Chronicle. His weekly podcasts can be heard on various radio stations and his website, willdurst.com. He also write a bi-monthly column for The Progressive Magazine, published in Madison, Wisconsin.
A 5 time Emmy nominee and host/co-producer of the PBS series Livelyhood, he is also a regular commentator on NPR, CNN, and C-SPAN. He has appeared on television over 800 times including Late Night with David Letterman, Comedy Central, HBO and Showtime. He received seven consecutive nominations for the American Comedy Awards Stand Up Comedian of the Year.
Will premiered his one-man show "The All-American Sport of BiPartisan Bashing" at the New World Stages Off Broadway in New York City August 2007 to rave reviews from both the New York Times and the New York Post. In 2012 he premiered his one-man show focused on the presidential election "Elect to Laugh" which ran for 41 weeks at the San Francisco Marsh Theater. In 2013, Durst wrote a show based on being an aging baby boomer called "BoomeRaging: From LSD to OMG." Since then, he has performed it in over 50 different cities, mostly in Northern California.
In 2016, he updated his "Elect to Laugh" show and has performed a Poat- Trump one- man show called "Durst Case Scenario" every Tuesday at the Marsh, which is a theater complex in San Francisco since July. He has also taken the show to many Northern California theaters and venues in Wisconsin, Washington, Nevada and Colorado. He is now working on an updated version of the show called "Durst Case Scenario: Midterm Madness."
Durst has written 3 books, including "Elect to Laugh" and "The All-American Sport of Bipartisan Bashing." He has also released 5 audio recordings, "None of the Above," "You Can't Make Stuff Up Like This," "Warning," "Raging Moderate" and "Elect to Laugh" the last 2 on the Stand- Up Records label. Along with Larry "Bubbles" Brown and Johnny Steele he is one of the titular characters in the feature documentary "3 Still Standing" directed by Robert Campos and Donna LoCicero, which focuses on the San Francisco comedy scene of the late 80s and beyond.
His pilot "A Year's Worth with Will Durst" was nominated for a Cable Ace Award after airing on the A&E network on New Year's Eve in 1994, but was never picked up.
On February 24, 2000, Durst was used as a phone-a-friend lifeline on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire by contestant Rudy Reber. The question, worth $500,000, was "who directed Michael Jackson's music video for the song Bad". After hearing the choices, Durst said "Landis," as in director John Landis. Reber locked it in as his final answer, which was wrong. (Martin Scorsese was the correct answer). As a result, Reber's winnings plummeted from $250,000 to $32,000, a loss of $218,000. Durst later wrote an article for TV Guide on the incident.
Durst lives in San Francisco with his wife Debi Ann Pickell Durst, an actress, improviser and director. She is now executive producer of San Francisco's annual Comedy Celebration Day in Golden Gate Park, usually held the last Sunday of Summer.
- Tim Parsons (2012-11-15). "Q&A with political humorist Will Durst". Tahoe Daily Tribune.
- Sam Whiting (2012-11-26). "Will Durst runs twice as fast in place". SFGate.
- "Will Durst". PBS.
- Rothstein, Betsy (July 20, 2005). "Will Durst Still pissed off after all these years". thehill.com. Retrieved January 6, 2018.
- Holden, Stephen (April 5, 1988). "Comic Sees Politicians As Good for Nothing Except His Jokes". New York Times. Retrieved January 6, 2018.
- "WILLIE BROWN AND WILL DURST INTERVIEW JOE D'ALESSANDRO ON "WILL & WILLIE SHOW" BROADCAST". sftravel.com. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
- "Will Durst". Castproductions.com.
- Weisman, Brad (June 9, 2015). "Will Durst Focuses His Satiric Gaze on the Endangered Boomer Generation". Westword. Retrieved January 6, 2018.
- Farhi, Paul (March 25, 2000). "A Friend Worth His Weight in Gold". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 6, 2018.
- Bartlett, Jean (August 13, 2016). "Pacifican Debi Durst in the Durst, Durst, Bossier and Mari comedy night in Redwood City". The Mercury News. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
- Official website
- Will Durst's weekly radio feature "Durst on The Drive" on the popular radio show The Drive on KSRO.
- Will Durst at AlterNet
- Will Durst @ Audible.com
- Talk show blog
- Will Durst on IMDb
- VIDEO: Will Durst — The All-American Sport of Bipartisan Bashing: Common Sense Rantings from a Raging Moderate, from the recent book tour, Portland, Oregon, May 16, 2008.
- Durst on FOX News Radio