Note to self and everyone else: When reviewing a live performance by John Waters, it’s best to record it. Waters speaks the way he makes movies — with a manic energy that prompts you to wonder how, and why, he does that. He’s twisted, both of the mind and tongue.
Waters’s annual Christmas show, which he takes on the road as a 90-minute monologue that’s more like a standup comedy routine, is a delicious and dysfunctional antidote to the season’s warm and fuzzy feeling.
When Waters took the stage to a packed house at Berklee Performance Center on Sunday night, his tales were decidedly not the kind you would share by a roaring fire alongside Grandma Hazel. He recalled how his own grandmother was once toppled by a Christmas tree, a moment he re-created in 1974’s “Female Trouble.”
Waters, 67, is a nut for Christmas, loving and hating it with equal measure. It turns out Waters wants a lot of things for Christmas.
His wish list was littered with pop-culture debris: He wants the receipt for that ham sandwich that, according to urban legend, killed Mama Cass, and he would love to make a rap record with fellow filmmaker David Lynch. The ultimate gift, though, would be Sylvia Plath’s gas and electricity bill.
In recent years, Waters has focused on writing books — his last film was 2004’s “A Dirty Shame” — but his Christmas shows are another outlet for his storytelling.
He remembered how Divine, the larger-than-life drag queen who was often the heroine of his early films, was crazy about Christmas and blew thousands of dollars on garland and decorations. (During a short Q&A session afterward with the audience, someone asked whether he and Divine had ever been lovers. They made out once, Waters said.)
Even though Waters was clearly working from a script, he delivered the show as if it had just occurred to him. His wide-eyed joy as he relayed the filthiest stories was not unlike the zeal a 6-year-old feels upon getting a puppy for Christmas. Waters simply couldn’t help himself: “I can’t get this image out of my mind,” he said at one point. “And I’m hoping you can’t now, either.”