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Submitted by Anonymous on Fri, 08/31/2007 - 2:58pm.
A year later, we got a chance to reconnect in New York, where Will is making everybody laugh with his new one-man show Will Durst: The All-American Sport of Bipartisan Bashing. From left to right and everywhere in between, from the New York Times to the New York Post, the critics are raving.
When we met on Manhattan's Upper West Side, Durst was reading the sports section over a cup of black coffee. No doubt he had finished reading the latest issue of the Nation magazine and drunk his chai-organic-double-vegan-latte before I got there. But he wasn't fooling me. And soon we were talking about getting flipped off by Olympia Dukakis, helping the terrorists win, necrophilia and other things liberals enjoy.
Katie Halper: Why do you hate America?
Halper: I saw Olympia Dukakis sitting right in front of me in the theater [at your show] and I knew I was in a scary place: a theater in New York, a woman who represents the unholy alliance between the Hollywood elite and liberals. But I was impressed when you got into a hissing match with her. Because anyone who hisses at a Dukakis is a friend of mine.
Halper: I think you got flipped the bird too.
Durst: Oh really? She flipped me off?
Durst: Well somebody's gotta do it. I feel like Dennis Miller.
Halper: You make fun of Arnold Schwarzenegger for signing a law outlawing having sex with corpses. Why do you want to legalize necrophilia?
Halper: Right, the right-to-lifers for necrophilia. And then you're not wasting the seed either.
Durst: Right. Although I'm not sure exactly how that fits in, so to speak.
Durst: I think we can distill what seem to be incredibly complex questions into something any audience member can understand. They don't have to be a poly-sci major. You can empower them to know that their opinion is important. There's no way that people are going to become enlightened. You're usually preaching to the choir. But it's nice to get the choir to sing. Especially after we've been used as human dart boards for the last six and a half years.
It's funny because there was a time when you couldn't do jokes about Bush. Even though we were, starting on Jan. 21st, 2001. Then Sept. 11th happened, and you couldn't touch him. It was seen as unpatriotic; we were involved in a war. Then Katrina happened. And taking on Bush became fashionable, and now it's considered old hat. We had a window of 18 months for Christ's sake when it was OK. And then it was, "Oh no, Bush is low-hanging fruit," or, "Everybody bashes Bush." Fuck you! We haven't hit him hard enough, and we're gonna hit him until ... until he dies, OK, until he dies, and we'll keep hitting, and then that still won't be enough.
Halper: We've really come full circle. Speaking of dead people and perverts, let's go back to the Democrats. My favorite part of the show, obviously, is when you focus on your Clintons, your Kerries, your Dukaki. More of your thoughts on them?
Halper: Do you renew the show every day with new news stories and headlines?
Halper: And the copies of the Nation?
Durst: Of course. Then I find a phrase that I love, and I try to come up with a punch line. I'm all one-liners. They're strung on top of each other so that hopefully the previous punch line is a set up for the next joke. It's piggybacking, which is a timing that I learned works because if you wanna do political comedy in Stockton, Calif., at Uncle Chuckles Fun Hut, then you have to learn how to get them to shut up.
There are about four places where we can work and people really know what we're talking about. N.Y., San Francisco, D.C., Boston. And I don't blame people because it's such a morass, it's so ugly, it's hard to keep up. The names are constantly changing. The circus remains the same, but the clowns are different. So I don't blame people if they don't know what I'm talking about. They have families, jobs, they have a life. It's our job to keep up on this shit and try to put it in terms they understand.
Durst: When I started doing standup in 1974, there was the Vietnam War and everything was, "We're gonna fight the man, man." Now, we are the man, man. But everything was political then. High school arithmetic was political. Of course in Wisconsin we didn't get the '60s until about 1974 anyway.
Halper: Why a show and not just standup?
Durst: Bigger canvas, more paint, and with writing you can plant a seed in the first paragraph and follow it until it blooms in the last paragraph. That's something I can do with the show. I can take my time between laughs. I always thought I was more literary than most comics. Which doesn't mean they're not smart. Comics are smart. They have a lot going on in their minds. Most are ADHD.
Durst: I dunno. When I was a kid, I was hyper. They started feeding me coffee at the age of 10. That was a popular therapy at the time, over-amping the kid to short-circuit him.
Halper: What's the worst thing that ever happened to you at a show?
Another time, this guy started yelling at me, and I couldn't hear him. And someone was taping the show, so he rushed at the camera and tried to grab it and had to be escorted out. It turns out he was an out-of-work right-wing talk show host. So he's calling all the radio stations in Sacramento and saying he was molested by the club staff, saying his freedom of speech was violated. Nobody would return his calls. Another time someone was going to beat me up in a club, but he got into a fight with someone who liked me, and they beat each other up. Good times.
Halper: Are you going to be sad at the end of Bush's term?
Durst: No. Because we're gonna get to know so much about the next person. Some people predicted the demise of political humor after Bill Clinton. Everything was below the belt. Every two-bit hack in America took his dick jokes and made them presidential dick jokes. Corporate gigs loved it when I would take on Clinton. I lost a lot of corporate gigs after Clinton. It's not so funny when you take on the boy king.
Halper: Who was your biggest influence?
Submitted by Anonymous on Fri, 08/31/2007 - 1:35pm.
UPDATE: Yesterday, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles voted six-to-one to commute Kenneth Foster's death sentence and Governor Rick Perry commuted the sentence to life in jail. Guess the governor didn't get my letter on time. Oh well, Texas still has 23 more executions before the year is over.
Submitted by Anonymous on Thu, 08/30/2007 - 11:18am.
Dear Governor Perry,
First of all, happy belated happy 400th execution day! It seems like only yesterday that Texas reinstated the death penalty, and yet you have managed to execute 400 people since 1982. Oops, scratch that, you killed DaRoyce Mosley Tuesday night, so make that 401 people, right? Actually, by the time you get this letter, you may have killed your 402nd inmate, John Amador, scheduled for August 29th. Or you may even have killed the 403rd person, Kenneth Foster, scheduled to die August 30th. As you know, Kenneth Foster’s fate is in your hands. In 1996, when Michael LaHood was fatally shot, of course, the man who pulled the trigger was not Foster, but Mauriceo Brown. And sure, Foster was inside a car at the time of the murder. Sure, 80 feet away from the crime scene, he was unaware of what Brown was up to. And sure, Amnesty International says,
In essence, Kenneth Foster has been sentenced to death for leaving his crystal ball at home. There is no concrete evidence demonstrating that he could know a murder would be committed. Allowing his life to be taken is a shocking perversion of the law.
The law of parties allows anyone involved in anyway in a crime to be found as guilty as the person who committed the crime. Texas is unique because it applies this law to death penalty cases. In other words, Texas is so special, it will execute you for a crime it admits you did not commit.
I know you have received letters from leftist anarchist wing bats like Archbishop Tutu, Jimmy Carter, and the European Union who are trying to bully you into granting a stay of execution. So I wanted to write you my own letter, urging you to hold your ground. Stay strong Mr. Governor! I so admire how you stood up to those EU girly boys, telling them,
230 years ago, our forefathers fought a war to throw off the yoke of a European monarch and gain the freedom of self-determination. Texans long ago decided that the death penalty is a just and appropriate punishment for the most horrible crimes committed against our citizens. While we respect our friends in Europe, welcome their investment in our state and appreciate their interest in our laws, Texans are doing just fine governing Texas.
Who cares what the EU pansies think? When it comes to the death penalty, you are in good company. Some of the most freedom-loving countries-- Saudi Arabia, China, Iran, Zimbabwe—have capital punishment. I, like yourself, am a traditionalist and love your argument that “the people of Texas decided a long time ago that the death penalty was a good idea.” After all, Texas has a long proud history of old noble decisions going back to the War of Northern Aggression.
And, of course, "Texans are doing just fine governing Texas," representing its people and defending their interests. I think the Texan record speaks for itself. You are number one in percentage of uninsured, and number two in non-immunized children and teenage pregnancy. You are number five in poverty AND child poverty (no fair!)
Mr. Governor, I'm sure your used to people accusing the Death Penalty of being racist. And of the three men killed/ to be killed this week, one was black and one was Latino. But, out of the 10 upcoming executions, one of them is white.
Governor Perry, when you feel yourself faltering, just remember the strong gubernatorial roots that ground and nourish you. President George Bush, arguably Texas’s greatest governor, executed 152 people in his unique caring way. In his page-turning autobiography A Charge to Keep, Bush wrote, "I take every death penalty case seriously and review each case carefully.... Each case is major because each case is life or death." Bush took the cases so seriously, that he would even read the clemency pleas, according to his then legal council Alberto Gonzalez, "from time to time". Signing 152 death sentences was so stressful for Bush, sometimes the poor governor had to resort to impersonating death row inmates’ pleas for clemency in order to decompress.
So please listen to reason, Mr. Governor, your own reason: "Texans long ago decided that the death penalty is a just and appropriate punishment for the most horrible crimes committed against our citizens." Like sitting in your car and not being clairvoyant.
Sincerely, Katie Halper
To tell Governor Perry what you think about Kenneth Foster’s case, call 512-463-2000, fax (512) 463-1849 and visit here.
And call the Board of Pardons and Paroles today!
Jose L. Aliseda,
Submitted by Anonymous on Tue, 08/28/2007 - 11:58am.
The real tragedy behind Craig’s arrest: the death of the Singing Senators
Today is a terrible day for America, public bathrooms, a cappella music everywhere. The arrest of Senator Larry Craig by an undercover police officer for lewd conduct in a public men's bathroom is the final nail in the coffin in which rots the once vibrant barbershop quartet known as the Singing Senators. Also called the Vocal Majority, the Singing Senators, or SS, consisted of John Ashcroft, baritone; Trent Lott, bass; Jim Jeffords, tenor; and Larry Craig, lead. The quartett’s beginning were as humble as the senators themselves. They started out harmonizing to Happy Birthday at the birthday party of fellow Republican senator Bob Packwood a framee in his own right, who would be forced to resign over sexual harassment charges based on bogus evidence like his diary and accusations from 11 different people. The crooners had their formal debut at the Kennedy Center and then went on to record an album Let Freedom Sing in Nashville and perform on the Today Show. As their popularity skyrocketted, The SS started performing more frequently, raising millions of dollars for Republican causes and charities. They may have sounded in tune, but something was out of key. And that was Jim Jeffords, who became an Independent, betraying not only the GOP but the SS. Days before Jeffords defected, a hopeful Lott predicted Jefford would stay in the party “After all, I mean, what would we do in the future about the Ainging Senators? We need Jim to be part of that harmony.” But Jeffords abandoned the quartet, and in a flash the Singing Senators were over, a blast from the past. Lott never saw it coming.
But Craig would not be silenced and, the quartet’s lead, used to leading, launched a solo career, writing his own songs, the most notable perhaps, an homage to Judge Samuel Alito, (to the tune of the West Side Story's "Maria"
The most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard/Alito, Alito/Alito, I just met a judge named Alito/And suddenly the name will never be the same/Alito, Bush just picked a judge named Alito/Alito, say it proud, that Republican saying/Say it soft and there’s Democrats praying/Alito, may the Senate confirm Alito.
Singing was just to fun for this Senator to give up. As Craig explained to Senator John Thune, whom he tried to recruit to the SS, “You’ve got to let your hair down and enjoy it.”
Then finally, only 2 moths ago, on June 12, after a 6-year hiatus, the Singing Senators made a comeback! Purged of the defecting Jeffords, their sound was purer and the trio was tighter. Craig explained, “We’re not a quartet any longer. We’re a trio, and there are a lot of good reasons for that.” Singing at a fundraiser for the Congressional Coalition of Adoption Institute, the three singing senators performed God Bless America, country and gospel tunes, and the sexy Oak Ridge Boys hit American Made:
She looks good in her tight blue jeans /she bought in Mexico/ And she loves wearing French perfume everywhere we go/ But when it comes to the lovin' heart/ one thing is true/ My Baby's genuine "U.S.A." / red white and blue/ From her silky long hair to her sexy long legs/ My baby is "American Made".
The SS had performed with the Oak Ridge Boys in 1997, so singing American Made marked a 10 year anniversary of Christian jamming.
Here's where things get fishy. This reunion show took place on Tuesday June 12. The arrest of Larry Craig took place on June 11th, one day before! And the arrest report was enetered on June 12th just hours before the reunion concert would kick off. A coincidence? Or a vast left-wing conspiracy? The reunion concert had to have been widely publicized through the series of tubes that is the internets. And the arrest was surely an attempt to silence Craig and the Singing Senators. The former rancher, family values conservative Idaho senator is said to have solicited gay sex in an airport bathroom. And yet, Craig is so straight, he voted for a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage(sorry Mary cheney), opposes including homosexuals in hate crime legislation. And he’s so not gay that when he was accused of being involved in a sex scandal involing male pages he said that made him “Mad as hell.”
Which sounds pretty macho to me. If he’s gay, why did he preemptively release a statement saying he wasn’t when he hadn’t been implicated in the scandal anyway? Sheesh. What could be less gay?
It looks like someone wants to shut up the Singing Senators.... only this time... for good.
The Barbersop ensemble, be it quartet or trio, is the most wholsome, most patriotic of all American all-male a cappella singing traditions. The values, the freedom-loving, and the irresistible melodies and rthyms of the SS threaten the liberal, gay, Jewish, vegan establishment bent on bringing down America.
Well, they may be able to stop the Singing Senators. They may be able to frame Craig. They may be able to persecute Lott, destroy his porch and put racist words in his mouth. They may be able to recruit Jim Jeffords. But nothing, not even pancreatis or Gonzolezean hospital-room harassment can bring down John Ashcroft. He will sing for the Senators, he will make the Singing Senators Soar.
Submitted by Anonymous on Thu, 08/23/2007 - 1:20pm.
Dear mine-owner and CEO Murray,
I was touched when you promised that you would "not leave this mine until those men are rescued, dead or alive." So I was extremely worried, having read the headline "Murray's Absence Puzzles Families." A company spokesman said you were "ministering" to the families of the miners, but it turns out the families have not seen you either. The ingrates actually "feel that Bob Murray has abandoned [them]." What these families fail to understand is that your absence is selfless, not selfish. Six years ago, Mayor Rudy Giuliani went down to Ground Zero and was exposed to the "exact same things that [the rescue workers] were." He became "one of them." And today, you, Mr. Murray, with a Rudy-esque valor and empathy, have put yourself in the same position as the little people who work for you, and you too are missing.
Wherever you are, I hope you can hear me and know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. I know you must be doing something righteous. You yourself are the first to admit that you fight for "the little guy that nobody cares about." Like the little guys to whom you donate: George "Maccaca" Allen, Katherine Harris, Mitch McConnell and Christopher "Friend of Jack Abramoff" Pombo.
You stand up to special interest groups like Mine Safety. Your friend Senator McConnell happens to be married to Labor secretary Elaine Chao and when an inspector for the Mine Safety Health Administration, which Chao oversees, got out of line, and wouldn't shut up about safety violations, you tactfully reminded him, "Mitch McConnell calls me one of the five finest men in America, and last I checked, he was sleeping with your boss." Luckily, Department of Labor justice is as blind as Department of Justice justice and the uppity safety inspector was transferred and forced into early retirement.
When opportunistic politicians tried to politicize the Sago mine tragedy by passing laws which would protect workers' safety, you stated "I resent these politicians playing politics with my employees' safety because I take the safety of my miners to bed with me every night." When the most opportunistic of all, that senator from New York, Hillary Clinton, said America needs a President who is "pro-labor and will appoint people who actually care about workers' rights and workers' safety" you had the balls of coal to call her "anti-American."
When tragedy struck you experienced a state of denial only felt by those who are at one with the little miners. At a press conference following the collapse you insisted "there's no emergency here," and threatened to call off the conference unless helicopters flying overhead were removed. You are a believer and explained "the lord has already decided whether they're alive or dead and whether they were killed from the percussion from the earthquake. But it's up to Bob Murray and my management to get the access to them as quickly as we can."
The liberal, Jewish, gay, vegan media is claiming that retreat mining, the fictitious method in which miners pull down the last standing pillars of coal and let the roof fall in, caused the collapse. Retreat mining sounds pretty safe to me, and it's only killed thirteen people in the last seven years. Talk about conspiracy theories! You know that the unfortunate accident had nothing to do with alleged "dangerous mining conditions." And you swear that "this was caused by an earthquake, not something that Murray Energy or our management did. It was a natural disaster....And I'm going to prove it to you." Government seismologists argue there was no way this was an earthquake, but who are we going to believe? A bunch of nerds who have nothing better to do than get PhDs in seismology? Or you, a man who knows it's all up to G-d any way.
This isn't the first time you have used your organic grasp of science to take on pseudo-science. You called global warming a myth and "Albert" Gore "the shaman of global goofiness and gloom and doom" responsible for "the destruction of American lives and more death as a result of his hysterical global goofiness with no environmental benefit."
Because you are an outspoken defender of coal rights, because you speak truth to power, and truth to mishigas like global warming and non-earthquake induced collapses, you are persecuted by those who harp on harmless minutiae: the 2,787 violations, $2.4 million proposed fines, and accident rates two times higher than the national average at your mine in Illinois; your 64 violations and $12,973 in fines proposed at Crandall, or the injury rates that are eight times higher than average at Ohio Mine.
I can only surmise you are off chasing the real culprit, the earthquake, as you promised. Or perhaps you are talking to God to see whether he decided if the miners were "dead or alive." Or maybe you overslept. That is a distinct possibility since you do take your miners' safety with you to bed every night.
So let us call off this lost cause of a search for the little miners, and search for the one great man we must find and save: Robert Murray.
Submitted by Justin Krebs on Wed, 08/01/2007 - 12:00am.
People from around the country ask the Democratic Presidential candidates if they are in fact 'liberals'.
Submitted by Justin Krebs on Wed, 07/25/2007 - 12:00am.
Laughing Liberally comic Costaki Economopoulos figures out if he can vote for a President named Obama.
Submitted by Justin Krebs on Wed, 07/25/2007 - 12:00am.
Laughing Liberally comic Costaki Economopoulos explains the latest on a suspicious package found at the John Edwards Head Quarters.
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