Dead-Solid Summer

Raging Moderate, by Will Durst

Here’s hoping your Independence Day is or was beyond terrific. Got to love the loudest and most American of all the holidays. Just one of the moments that makes a person prouder than papaya punch to be a citizen of this fine country. The greatest place on the planet, which is why we have all those darn problems with our borders. After all, you don’t see a lot of stories about the teeming humanity streaming across the border into Kazakhstan. Or Kyrgyzstan. Which many experts claim are two different countries.

Cartoon by Jeff Parker - Florida Today (click to reprint)

Cartoon by Jeff Parker - Florida Today (click to reprint)

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Although the Summer Solstice was but a few weeks ago, the Fourth of July is still dead-solid summer. It means baseball and hot dogs and picnics and suntan lotion and ice cream trucks and road trips in the back of a station wagon bouncing around like a fleshy pinball, begging Dad to turn up the air conditioning and screw the gas mileage.

Being a native of the Midwest, I am used to celebrating this noisy and sweaty occasion by intensely charring immense amounts of flesh, both mine and that of assorted animals, then drinking a cooler full of suds and shooting off firecrackers. That’s right, we drink beer and handle explosives, explaining why this is the day many nicknames like “Lefty” and “Patch” are christened.

No matter what side of the political spectrum your team plays on, this is a non-partisan party. Hippies and hawks both can be seen exercising their freedom by flipping Frisbees and firing up the grill, although it’s a lot easier to keep a rack of baby-backs from slipping through the grates than it is for bean sprouts.

Hard to think of a snapshot of the USA more iconic than a small-town Fourth of July parade with kids stringing bunting in their bicycle spokes, and streamers doing their streaming thing from the handlebars. Where tricycles and Big Wheels careen between crawling convertibles containing beauty queens waving with one hand and holding tight their tiaras with the other. Where hardware stores sponsor Uncle Sam floats, and politicians are good-naturedly booed.

Speaking of which, the Fourth of July also signals the apex of the marching-band year. This is their day to shine. Good marching bands and bad marching bands. Which admittedly is hard for the layman to tell the difference, but no whining. These poor people practice all year long and get one lousy day. Be honest, how many John Philip Sousa albums do you own?

Even as a transplant to the West Coast, my wife and I will attempt to do the red, white and blue thing so big and bad that the ghost of Patrick Henry slaps us an imaginary high-five. It’s the perfect time to forget the troubles facing this nation and concentrate on the good things. Food, family, friends and fireworks.

So get in your summer licks, people. Buy a new bathing suit. Wear white shoes. Fly a flag. Eat a roasted cob of corn and let the butter slide right down your arm and drip off your elbow. Snore in a hammock. And blow some stuff up real good. Because it won’t be long before we’re stuffing the flip-flops back in the closet and hauling out the school backpacks and pumpkin-carving kits. Happy 234th birthday, America. And I got to tell you sweetheart, in the right light, you don’t look a day over 195. Oooh. Aaaah.


Will Durst is a San Francisco-based political comedian who often writes. This being a festive example. Catch his one-man show, “The Lieutenant Governor from the State of Confusion,” at a performing arts center near you. His new CD, “Raging Moderate” from Stand Up! Records, is now available on both iTunes and Amazon. Coming this fall: “Where the Rogue Things Go.”

Copyright ©2010, Will Durst, distributed by the Cagle Cartoons Inc. syndicate. Call Cari Dawson-Bartley at 800-696-7561 or e-mail [email protected]. Will Durst is a political comedian who has performed around the world. He is a familiar pundit on television and radio. E-mail Will at [email protected]. Check out for the latest podcast. Will Durst’s book, “The All American Sport of Bipartisan Bashing,” is available from Amazon and better bookstores all over this great land of ours. Don’t forget to check out his rooftop comedy minutes at:

Comedy For People Who Read Or Know Someone Who Does

As the sacred cows set themselves up for slaughter each night at six, America cries out for a man with the aim, strength and style to swat the partisan political piñatas upside their heads. Will Durst is that man. Sweeping both sides of the aisle with a quiver full of barbs sharpened by a keen wit and dipped into the same ink as the day's headlines, Durst transcends political ties, performing at events featuring Vice President Al Gore and former President George H.W. Bush, also speaking at the Governors Conference and the Mayors Convention cementing his claim as the nation's ultimate equal opportunity offender. Outraged and outrageous, Durst may mock and scoff and taunt, but he does it with taste.

A Midwestern baby boomer with a media-induced identity crisis, Durst has been called "a modern day Will Rogers" by The L.A. Times while the S. F. Chronicle hails him as "heir apparent to Mort Sahl and Dick Gregory." The Chicago Tribune argues he's a "hysterical hybrid of Hunter Thompson and Charles Osgood," although The Washington Post portrays him as "the dark Prince of doubt." All agree Durst is America's premier political comic.

As American as a bottomless cup of coffee, this former Milwaukeean is cherished by critics and audiences alike for the common sense he brings to his surgical skewering of the hype and hypocrisies engulfing us on a daily basis. Busier than a blind squirrel neck deep in an almond sorting warehouse, Durst writes a weekly column, was a contributing editor to both National Lampoon and George magazines and continues to pen frequent contributions to various periodicals such as The New York Times and his hometown San Francisco Chronicle.

This five-time Emmy nominee and host/co-producer of the ongoing award winning PBS series "Livelyhood" is also a regular commentator on NPR and CNN, and has appeared on every comedy show featuring a brick wall including Letterman, Comedy Central, HBO and Showtime, receiving 7 consecutive nominations for the American Comedy Awards Stand Up of the Year. Hobbies include the never-ending search for the perfect cheeseburger, while his heroes remain the same from when he was twelve: Thomas Jefferson and Bugs Bunny.

Look for Will's new book "The All American Sport of Bipartisan Bashing" at bookstores and

Will Durst's performances and columns are made possible by the First Amendment.