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Go see Will Franken. Now.

If you live in or near San Francisco, please go see Will Franken [1]‘s show at The Marsh [2] as soon as you can. It’s running until August 4th, and it is staggeringly, mind-blowingly brilliant. My friend Lev [3] and I just saw it, and afterwards we could talk of nothing else except how amazing it was.

Here is a map of the area around the Marsh [4]. Their ticket hotline is: +1 (800) 838-3006. Ticket prices are on a sliding scale from $15 (“I’m unemployed”) to $35 (“I just sold my startup to Yahoo”). The show is on three nights a week: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

Is there anything else I can do to make this easier for you? Arrange a limo to pick you up?

Will Franken doing comedy is what Paganini playing the violin must have been like: a master so completely in control of his instrument, his material, and his art that you can only sit in silent, reverent awe. Except that in Franken’s case, you have to sit in silent, reverent awe while simultaneously breaking into uncontrollable fits of side-splitting laughter. You think that’s easy? Try it — I almost cracked a rib.

In the 19th century Robert Schumann, a music critic as well as a composer, apparently made a habit of proclaiming a genius under every rock. Too often he hailed the merely talented as something greater than what they were, so that even when his judgement was sound (as with Chopin) it wasn’t taken seriously enough: a case of the boy who cried wolf [5] a few too many times.

I’ve tried hard not to engage in that sort of review inflation. If you search my blog for the word “genius”, you won’t find any matches before this post. Please understand: this is the moment I’ve been hoarding my credibility for. This is it. I’m cashing in. Will Franken is a genius, a creative artist like no one else I’ve ever seen. He deserves to be world-famous; perhaps he will not be, for the same reasons that American Idol [6] is popular, but if so, don’t let it be because you didn’t go see his show.

I feel dirty even calling it “comedy”… it’s something much deeper (and therefore funnier) than regular stand-up comedy. Many comedians make a good show out of saying the things we all want to say, but don’t because we’re afraid of what other people might think of us. Will Franken makes a great show out of saying the things we don’t say because we’re afraid of what we might think of ourselves.

You know what to do.