Meet the Media – Will Durst

Will Durst

Will Durst is an American political satirist. Born in Wisconsin, Will considers himself an honorary native of San Francisco and has recently started writing a column for the SF Chronicle, which appears every other Tuesday.

With your new column, your assignment is to take on the Bay Area’s places and people. What SF trends, stories or issues are on your radar?
I’m looking for stories that about the humorous. The tangentially funny. Anything that is mockable. Yet I want to keep it semi-respectful.

Will your new column address the current political climate?
Nah – I’m keeping it light and easy. A paean to the Bay Area. A skeptical love letter. If people want political humor, they can come to my little shows, read my column syndicated by Cagle Cartoons or visit my website.

From a political comedy point of view, is this the administration that keeps on giving?
Boyo, that’s the truth! The hard part with this guy is that everything changes so quickly. He reloads the clown cannon every day. He uses chaos as fog. My joke is, “I switch between the Giants and the news, and stuff happens between batters.” But even that doesn’t work anymore.

What media do you typically digest?
Everything. I get my material through osmosis. NY Times. SF Chronicle. Debi gets the WSJ and I go through that once in a while. AM & FM news-talk on the car radio. MSNBC, CNN and the evening national and local news on TV. I tend to switch between CBS, NBC & ABC. I don’t know if I consume all this news because I’m a political comic or if I’m a political comic because of all the news I consume. It’s a chicken and egg thing.

As a standup comic, what are the advantages of being “an equal-opportunity offender”?
It keeps me authentic. My job as a comic is not to proselytize or try to change the way people think, but rather to lighten the load with jokes. I like being a political comic because it forces me to write new jokes. I’m still in high school – if it’s due Monday morning, I’ll start it after 60 Minutes. I need that enforced deadline; someone else depending on me.

Some people don’t realize that you’ve been a writer for years. What stories are you most proud of?
All of them – haha! I’ve been writing a column on and off since college. I once wrote a funny column about a gun manufacturer who was offering fingerprint resistant grips which were targeted at one demographic: criminals. And because of that column, the Illinois legislature banned them. At least that’s what I was told. Who knows?! But even being a contributing factor makes a guy feel warm and fuzzy.

What is your dream assignment?
To cover the inauguration of the 46th president on January 20, 2021. For the NY Times. At five bucks a word.

Finish this sentence: If I’m not writing or doing standup, I am…
Probably driving. Just kidding! Watching movies – TCM, Redbox or in a multiplex. Or reading mystery novels, but that happens infrequently.

Tell us something about yourself that people may not know.
I probably drink 10 cups coffee a day and I may be the best parallel parker in America. Although I don’t think the two have anything to do with each other.

Do you have a question for Will? Ask it below or Tweet him at @willdurst.

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5 Comments

  1. David Cumpston Reply

    What a great read and a nice breath of fresh air on this Monday morning, Will! Thanks for sharing your insight with us – it keeps me sane on the days when I need it most.

  2. David Landis Reply

    Will, many thanks – what a fun read. My favorite? “What is your dream assignment?
    To cover the inauguration of the 46th president on January 20, 2021. For the NY Times. At five bucks a word.” As my mother used to say, “From your lips to God’s ears!” Cheers, David (Landis)

  3. Ashley Boarman Reply

    Will, you’re a total hoot. I love to laugh and we can all use more humor these days. I’m also an exceptional parallel parker. I don’t even need to use the backup camera. The skill is my household claim to fame.

  4. Robin Carr Reply

    A “burst of Durst” — always a great read! So glad you’re a Chron columnist. They are lucky to have you!

  5. Craig MacLellan Reply

    Thanks for bringing a smile to my face, Will. And please keep making people smile in these uncertain times.