‘This Filthy World’


We don’t love stand-up pics for the well-timed pan to the audience. From
Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip
to Bill Hicks: Sane Man, it’s the charisma of a great performer that makes us forget that the camera isn’t . . . moving . . . at all. And, though not exactly a legend of the stand-up comedy circuit, who’s more charismatic than John Waters? Hamming it up with a mix of pop culture commentary, cinema studies, and on-set dish, Waters kills (as they say) in Jeff Garlin’s This Filthy World. Filmed by the Curb Your Enthusiasm sidekick at the Harry De Jur Playhouse in New York, the concert film presents material that, unbeknownst to most of us, Waters peddles around the country, from college campuses to town halls. Bouncing from cultural observations (picture Michael Jackson in the burn ward) to sage advice (how college students can be more filthy), Waters’s best bits are nostalgic, as he remembers his late friend and frequent collaborator Divine. Part memoir, part lecture, This Filthy World reaffirms what most of us already know fromThe Wire: In a town full of delightful misfits, Waters may be Baltimore’s sanest citizen.