Will Durst loves great words.

“I love language and I love when I can give some inflated language to the audience,” said the satirist who bills himself as someone who performs “comedy for people who read or know someone who does.”

A Wisconsin native who now lives in California, Durst is a prolific writer.

“I send out radio commentaries to 12 different stations on a weekly basis, so that’s 300 words and then I record it on my computer,” he told me when he was here performing at the Acme Comedy Co. “I cut it down and then I customize a tag for [example] ‘KALW, I’m Will Durst’ or something like that. Then the next day I write using that as kernel for my column. I send out a column that gets syndicated to various newspapers. I send that out every week and that’s about 600 words. Those are my two deadlines. Sometimes I write stuff for the newspaper column and I know it won’t translate to the stage because they are two different voices. Sometimes they do. I’m doing a joke now that in New Hampshire it’s 91 percent white. These people are so damn white the blue vein running down their outer thigh is like an interstate and the road map to intolerance. And I LOVE that line. The audience gets a little confused [and uncomfortable] and then I come back with, ‘They make the Pillsbury Doughboy look like an aborigine.”

Durst is constantly updating willdurst.com, which features “The Will Durst Journal,” which looks like the front of a newspaper. He also writes books. His current one is a tiny tome, something of a chap book, composed of “54 Handwritten 30-Second Mysteries.”

“Each mystery’s a paragraph and then there’s a little illustration,” said Durst, who estimated the book would be “27 minutes of literary bliss; 30 [minutes] for slow readers.”

Since it’s an election year, Durst had a lot to say about politics and politicians. Here are the words he hopes will get you to a polling place: “I don’t care who you vote for, just vote. If you don’t vote you can’t bitch, but then again I’ll pick up the slack.”

 

Q: If you were not a comedian what you would be?

A: A writer? A lawyer? I like radio, TV. I’ve always been able to do a little bit of that stuff, so I’ve been very lucky.

 

Q: Where most often does a joke pop into your head? In traffic, in the shower?

A: A lot of times jokes will just occur on stage when I’m comfortable with this clump of material and that clump of material. In order to get to the next clump, I will to try to make it colloquial and brief. Problem is I’m not always taping and I can’t always remember the joke. That’s a rookie mistake. I just can’t listen to myself. Six months later I can listen to myself. I write. I still have deadlines. I’m still in high school. If it’s due Monday morning, I’ll start it Sunday after “60 Minutes.” I’ll still get an A.

 

Q: Have you ever had the nerve to give your radio show co-host, former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, fashion advice?

A: Not at all. Willie Brown is the most well-accoutred man, and I bug him because I walk up to him and touch his suits and [say], “Ohhhh, what is that?” And it’s usually a Brioni. Now he’s on a Kiton kick. [Wednesday when I stopped by Hubert White’s I learned that Minnesota residents have to go all the way to Chicago for outrageously expensive Kiton.] At one of those benefit auctions I bought one of his Kiton ties. He signed it. He doesn’t know this to this day.

 

Q: He could have given you a tie?

A: You would think. I never had the cojones to ask him for a tie.

 

Q: Why did the San Francisco Examiner fire you twice?

A: I’ve been fired by the Examiner twice and PBS three times. It’s what always happens. One guy likes me and he hires me and he leaves; the next guy coming in doesn’t like me. [One new guy] said, My friends don’t think you’re funny. He didn’t say he didn’t think I was funny. He couldn’t trust his own opinion.

 

Q: Do you feel more sorry for Bill Cosby or Michael Richards?

A: Don’t feel sorry for either one of them. Bill Cosby’s work is going to remain. He was a very funny man. He won’t be revered as “America’s Dad” again, ever, but his work [was] incredible humor “Why is There Air?” and “Wonderfulness …”

 

Q: … and Noah’s Ark.

A: Yeah, yeah. It’s just a bad, kind of an ugly denouement, also horrible. Mort Sahl.

 

Q: … to whom you’ve been compared a lot …

A: … was much more erudite than I am; I go for the joke. Mort Sahl every Thursday in the Bay Area does a gig and he Periscopes it. He talked about Bill Cosby and said he had quaaludes in his pocket in the ’60s and ’70s when they hung out together. I’ve always lived my life like I was under a microscope and I expect other people to. I know what Michael Richards was doing. He was losing the crowd and everybody’s been there. Every comic has lost the crowd. Then he was trying to do some convoluted Lenny Bruce thing: Let’s say the word and get it out there but he was wrongly [attached] to the situation.

 

Q: I thought Michael Richards might have survived that better if he had worked in an ensemble cast with more black people. That “Seinfeld” show was not very black.

A: Not very. I think you can say that safely.

 

Q: Are you still close to Rudy Reber?

A: The guy I kind of shafted on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” It was the half-million dollar question and he called me as a phone a friend and I messed up. Royally. Yeah, yeah. [Laughter] More so than we were are one point. But I owe him a lot of money.

 

Q: What really famous comedians do you have on speed dial? Could you call up David Letterman right now?

A: No. I don’t know [intentional use of the wrong word] nobody. I’ve got Tim Bedore’s number right here. He’s a local comedian. That’s about it. Oh, I could get in touch with Greg Proops. Someone asked me to get in touch with Dana Carvey; I am unable. People always used to ask me to get in touch with Robin Williams. I said, “I can get in touch with someone who can get in touch with Robin Williams.”

 

Q: If you were not a comedian what would you be?

A: A writer? A lawyer? I like radio, TV. I’ve always been able to do a little bit of that stuff, so I’ve been very lucky.

 

Q: Have you been to a Donald Trump rally yet & was your lovely parting gift a black eye or bloody head?

A: Nah. They wouldn’t be happy to see me at a Trump rally and I wouldn’t be happy to be there. So we have set up a sort of mutual do not meet truce. It’s working out just fine.

 

Q: Should Trump celebrate the fact that he is popular with, among others, the uneducated?

A: I love the fact that Trump [said], We did good with well educated; I love the poorly educated. Of course, you do. It’s your base! It’s also known as low information loaders, which is a polite way of saying STUPID PEOPLE. The only thing is you can [say] it right in front of them: [Pretending to be Trump] We’re here with a group of low information voters. [Pretending to be Trump supporters] Yeah, that’s us.

 

Q: Where are you moving if Trump becomes president?

A: I do this joke on stage. If Trump is elected president, Mexico will be forced to build a wall to control our immigration. Get me the hell outta here, por favor.

 

Q: If it’s Trump vs. Hillary Clinton, what should she says when he says, “You’re married to a womanizer,” or however Trump chooses to characterize the behavior of former President Bill Clinton?

A: Hillary could point out that Donald has outsourced two of his three marriages. And those are lucrative divorce settlements that could be going to hardworking Americans.

 

Q: What’s the word that best explains why Alabama-born Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell tries to undercut President Obama at every turn?

A: They are sucking up to their base. They think that’s what their low-information voters want. Face it, for seven years the Republican negotiation stance with Obama has been, no, no, no NO! Let me think? No! Not in a million years. “What are you, 4?” It’s pretty disgusting.

 

Q: You think when Obama writes his memoirs he’ll say what he refused to say now, which is that he encountered a lot of racism in Congress?

A: I think that his eight-year period is responsible for the rise of the Tea Party. People who are not comfortable being governed by a black guy. You know what’s amazing? How loose he is right now. He’s got nothing to lose, nothing to win. You forget how smart this guy is. There’s a scene in “Broadcast News” where someone says to Holly Hunter, It must be nice being the smartest person in every room and she goes, No, it’s not. It’s the same with Obama. He is [the smartest person in the room] but he knows how to tamp it down so as not to shove it into people’s faces. Now he doesn’t care who knows what. That’s what I like about him.

 

Q: Your best Hillary Clinton joke?

A: This is my first joke about Hillary. Hillary Clinton is going to concentrate on picking up women voters, which coincidentally mirrors her husband’s agenda.

 

Q: What do you think of Bernie Sanders?

A: I’m a big fan of the 74-year-old socialist, conscientious objector, Jewish, rock star fortunately not wearing leather pants. He’s only a year older than Mick Jagger. Yeah. And he’s a year younger than Charlie Watts, the drummer for the Stones.

 

Q: My mother is on the board of an organization with which Dr. Ben Carson has spent a lot of time. She said he didn’t speak in the deeply measured manner he had on the campaign trail.

A: The problem is that politics is not brain surgery. Sometimes it sounds like he’s dipped into his own prescription bag. Dr. Carson, you need to relax. Take some of these.

 

Q: You’ve been married how long?

A: It’ll be 35 years in November. Six of the happiest years of my life. No two weeks contiguous. I think the secret is actually being on the road a lot because then we have happy reunions.

 

Interviews are edited. To contact C.J. try cj@startribune.com and to see her watch FOX 9’s “Jason Show.”