Comedy review: John Waters keeps it filthy in his visit here

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One way of looking at our crazy world is that there are two types of people: those who pick up the trash and those who deliver it. John Waters is clearly of the latter, but having eschewed moviemaking for the past decade, his delivery method these days is a personal visit.

On Friday, the director who grossed us out in the '70s made one with his divinely comic one-man show "This Filthy World" at Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland. "Look at this beautiful theater," he said. "It's like 'The Poseidon Adventure.' "

The long, lean Mr. Waters, introduced as "The Filthiest Man Alive," started from the beginning, portraying himself as the grade school kid who would draw only with black crayons and imagined he owned a dirty movie theater.

Dressed in a black suit that half wanted to be plaid, he expressed some slight regret about the very nature of the show:

"I wanted to come out and sing Lana Del Rey's album ...but I'm more life-affirming these days."

He jumped into everything, from the Justin Bieber doll to porn parody to his lingering fascination with K-Fed: "I think he's cute. I have his CD. I've never taken the cellophane off it, but I touch it every once in a while."

It was part stand-up on random subjects such as deviant sex, hard drugs, abortion movies (yes), trashy pop culture and even rap music, which he complained has become a twisted exercise of "ex-poor people bragging to poor people that they're now rich."

It was also part mini-tour of his filmography, with infinite jumping-off points. "People see those early movies," he said, "and say, 'You must have been on drugs when you made those movies.' Well ... we were!"

Of course, the one people want to hear about the most is "Pink Flamingos," of which he said, "I know it will be in the first paragraph of my obituary."

He addressed an early logistical problem with 1981's "Polyester" and its infamous "odorama" cards. "They said, 'You can't give out these cards. Suppose someone eats one.' I said, 'Why would someone eat one? Is this a problem with 3-D glasses?' "

For those curious about any sort of reunion with his old cast members, he joked that it will happen in the cemetery, where they'll all have plots together. "We call it Disgraceland."

His encore was a Q&A session fielding questions about Don Knotts, Tab Hunter, Honey Boo Boo, Charles Manson, farm animals, his favorite movie of 2012 ("The Deep Blue Sea") and whether he ever had sex with Divine (didn't).

As for being "The Filthiest Man Alive," yeah, he ranks, obviously, and the lines that cracked up his adoring crowd the most are utterly unprintable. For those, you'll have to catch the show elsewhere, or perhaps pick him up hitchhiking.

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Scott Mervis: smervis@post-gazette.com; 412-263-2576.


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