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Hyman M. Perlo Studio — Dance Place
Saturday, July 11 at 6:55 p.m. Sunday, July 12 at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday, July 14 at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 16 at 8:30 p.m.
They say: BoomeRaging: From LSD to OMG is an uproarious tribute to the joys, achievements and frustrations of Baby Boomers. What happens when acid flashbacks meet dementia. A celebration of the maturation of the Boomer Nation, culminating in the Meaning of Life.
Amrita’s take: Depending on your age group and your serotonin levels, comedian Will Durst’s observations on youth culture and generational divides will either make you laugh or depress the hell out of you. If you were born between 1946 and 1964, making you a Baby Boomer, you’re a part of Durst’s target audience, and his ruminations on the sad irony of Boomers, the “architects of youth culture” starting to go gray, will likely hit home for you. But even if you’re a Gen-Xer or a millennial, or one of the latter “OMG” generations, Durst may remind you of what will inevitably come. One day you’ll try to explain what Spotify was to a 7th grader, and he will look at you like you are a walking Ken Burns documentary. And it will suck.
Part social studies lecture, part stand-up routine, Durst’s 90-minute set lampoons how ridiculous things were back then, what things are ridiculous now, and the age-old things that have stayed ridiculous. Thanks to the ever-dysfunctional nature of American politics, the latter category is by far the biggest. Deploying the use of a projector, that long-forgotten relic that some millennials will surely recognize from their elementary school days, Durst delivers a speedy runthrough of presidential elections that is, by far, one of his strongest bits. It’s a moment in his set that reminds you that a long, long time ago, before Stewart and Colbert, the New York Times called Durst “quite possible the best political satirist working in the country today.”
True, NYT said this about Durst in 1988, but Durst in 2015 is still the consummate political comic. The guy was Jon Stewart before Jon Stewart, and managed to bring down the house by himself, without the aid of a fake news anchor persona or a throng of writers scouring C-SPAN for outrageous House floor statements.
And maybe it’s a testament to how much the genre has exploded that some of Durst’s politically-themed jokes seem kind of run-of-the mill, or in dire need of a 2016 update. Jokes about Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin are still kind of “meh” funny, but will soon approach the George W. Bush realm of merely being easy bait. Not to mention, neither woman is currently in the political limelight. Lucky for Durst, there’s infinite comic fodder in Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, and oh my God I am not going to type out all 50 million Republican candidates for president, but you get my point.
Some of Durst’s jokes do fall flat, or feel a bit derivative. He’ll tell a joke and you’ll have already guessed the punchline because you’ve already heard it somewhere before. But then again, it’s highly likely Durst was the first one to come up with it. Nonetheless, it’s hard to ignore that some of Boomeraging could use an update, if only so this comedy on aging doesn’t sound dated. Given he’s been a political satirist since the ’70s, Durst is probably no stranger to evolving with the times. But as he told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2012, “The hard part is not writing the new stuff. That’s fairly easy. The hard part is getting rid of the old stuff.”
No doubt C-SPAN’s favorite comic is up for it.
See it if: You’re going through a quarter-life crisis and you want to put things in perspective, or if you’re going through a mid-life crisis and need to commiserate.
Skip it if: You were born after the Bush administration. Herbert, but especially Walker. No need to worry your pretty little head about all this heavy stuff now.