Comedian Will Durst paid a visit to Pandora HQ in Oakland and brought the funny with his Emmy-nominated political satire. He has appeared on Late Night with David Letterman, Comedy Central, HBO and Showtime. Will has also been featured alongside some of the statesmen who have tickled his funny bone over the years — Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush and Al Gore. After his performance, Will sat down with me to discuss his first open mic, the charms of terrible comedy venues and what he’d be doing if he wasn’t skewering leaders on both sides of America’s political divide.
What do you remember about your very first open mic or the first time you did comedy?
WD: A friend of mine told me about an audition for a comic to perform in between musical comedy acts at an airport lounge. I was writing a humor column for the underground newspaper in Milwaukee at the time, so I cobbled some funny bits from that and I put together a seven minute act…and I died a horrible death. There were five people at 5 PM in an office, running this comedy audition, sitting in comfy chairs with coffee cups full of scotch. It was awful, it was just awful. …
Comedian Beth Stelling dropped by our office in Oakland and cracked everyone up with material from her new album, Sweet Beth. Beth was featured at the prestigious Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal and, in 2011, and was awarded the Rooftop Comedy’s Silver Nail Award, recognizing the Best Underground Standup Comics. Beth has also been named “Best Standup Comedian” by the Chicago Reader, and this past July, she made her late-night television debut on Conan. …
It’s the most wonderful time of the year…if you love holiday music, that is. If carols aren’t your jam, the last couple months of the year can be as unbearable as watching Santa Claus Conquers the Martians without hilarious commentary from the Mystery Science Theater 3000 guys.
It always starts the same way. In early November, some local radio station fires the opening salvo by switching over to all “Sleighride” and “Frosty The Snowman” tunes. Department stores and online retailers jingle their bells in the background of their commercials. By the time Black Friday rolls around, the entire world has gone “Holiday”. Coffee shops are swathed in tinsel while Karen Carpenter coos about frosted windowpanes and three-quarter time; the local mall plays the 16 covers (yes, there really are 16) of that John Lennon “Happy Xmas (War Is Over) song on a continuous loop; and gaggles of kids gather on street corners to raise money for charity by singing “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Raindeer” and “Winter Wonderland.”
So congratulations on maintaining your sanity for this long! While many of us delight in our ability to bask in holiday jingles this time of year, I’m here to help all the rest of you get through to December 26th with some festive comedic relief. …
Stand-up comedians Don Friesen and Jason Love stopped by Pandora headquarters in Oakland to entertain employees with our very first live comedy Whiteboard Session. After waking the staff up with a 9:30 AM performance, they kept us laughing as we chatted about open mics, vomit, and advice for aspiring comics.
Don Friesen is the only two-time winner of the San Francisco International Comedy Competition. He has appeared on Comedy Central and his recent special Ask Your Mom is currently airing on Showtime.
Jason Love has appeared on Comedy Central, Last Comic Standing, and HBO’s Luck. His award-winning humor column, So It Goes has run in over 50 publications. …