Introduced as an "equal-opportunity skewerer" by Lodi Mayor Bob Johnson, comedian Will Durst proved the description by making light of politicians, popular culture and even Lodi itself during his 30-minute set at Thursday's Leadership Forum.
The political comedian took the stage wearing a gray suit and white tennis shoes, and quickly quipped that Johnson's name made it sound like he was in the Witness Protection Program.
Durst eventually set his sights on Fox News commentator and former governor Sarah Palin. Durst pointed out that Palin is regularly in the spotlight and not always a welcome sight for GOP supporters.
"She's like Republican herpes," he said. "And I mean that in a good way."
Durst said Palin's book sold well to people who hadn't purchased a book in more than five years, and that it made her "Queen of the Illiterati."
He noted that former Vice President Dick Cheney just had his sixth heart attack.
"His sixth heart attack, his sixth, and he's still here. He's so evil, even hell keeps spitting him back."
But Democrats did not escape Durst's barbs. Former Congressman Anthony Weiner, who recently stepped down in the wake of a Twitter scandal, was an easy target for the humorist.
He said Weiner could have adopted a pronunciation of his name to rhyme with "whiner."
"But as a Democrat, that would be redundant," he said.
He said Gov. Jerry Brown, who is 72, was just "pronounced in very good health by his paleontologist."
Durst made several lighthearted digs at Lodi, including a remark that it is more like The Shire from "The Lord of the Rings" than a town because it is removed from larger cities.
He also had some fun at the expense of former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and estranged wife Maria Shriver. The couple's marriage recently eroded when Schwarzenegger admitted to having a child out of wedlock.
"I never understood that marriage to begin with," Durst said. "What were they trying to do? Phase one of a genetic experiment to breed a Kennedy who's bulletproof?"
When members of the audience groaned, Durst quickly defended his remarks.
"I said that joke at Martha's Vineyard; it's OK," he said.
The Kennedy compound — a collection of residences inhabited by members of the Kennedy family — is located at Martha's Vineyard.
The crowd did wince at one part of Durst's set when he made a remark about Rep. Paul Ryan (R, Wis.). Durst alluded to Ryan's health plan and suggested he was evil. When most of the crowd responded with silence, Durst quickly realized the situation.
"I take it this isn't a big union town," Durst said to heavy laughter.
Contact reporter Jordan Guinn at firstname.lastname@example.org.