Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The Last Cargo Cult: Daisey Dukes (

I seriously doubt if I'd ever describe a stage performance as being "literally explosive" but gosh darn it if Mike Daisey doesn't make the prospect tempting. If you've ever seen this uproariously funny, socio-politically-minded soloist in action you probably know what I mean since, even though he always performs extemporaneously -- guided by his hand-written notes rather than using a scripted text -- there's a standard look and style to his shows that remains consistent. He is always seated at a table, on which are his neatly piled pages of notes, a glass of water and a small towel for mopping up his ever-perspiring face. Daisey is a large man given to large physical gestures and extraordinarily broad facial expressions. The explosions come periodically, usually preceded by a calm, even-toned explanation of some diabolical system that a government agency or huge industry is using for personal gain at the expense of an unsuspecting public. Then, as he gets to the payoff, which is usually the comic climax of his point, boom! His voice bellows, his face crunches and his arms flutter as though panic, anger and madness are all finding ways to escape from his body. Then, as the audience roars with laughter, he placidly rests his elbows on the table, lightly touching his fingers together, and peacefully watches his listeners until the room is once again quiet.