Most of today was spent tracking down various aspects of the Air America Radio debacle in Chicago and Los Angeles- don't know who's telling the truth, but I know that if I were launching a new radio network on leased-time stations, I'd pay in advance and make sure everything was covered (but they never asked me)- but then I got this item:
Mark Russell at NAB Broadcast Leadership Dinner
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Famed comedian and political satirist Mark Russell will
be the featured entertainment at this year's Broadcast Leadership Dinner
during the NAB2004 convention in Las Vegas. Often referred to as the
"political pianist," Mr. Russell is known for his musical satire which pokes
bipartisan fun at politicos of all stripes.
The Broadcast Leadership Dinner is an invite-only event held every year
during the NAB convention to recognize broadcast industry leaders that play
a key role in NAB's legislative and lobbying efforts. In addition to
politically active broadcasters, special guests at the event often include
members of Congress and FCC Commissioners.
Mark Russell used to be on all the time on PBS when I was a kid. "From the Katherine Cornell Theater at the State University of New York at Buffalo..." That was the intro, then a puffy guy in a tux and glasses would come out and tell jokes and pound the piano ragtime-style and sing song parodies to the vast amusement of a crowd whose faces occasionally popped out of the dim theater-in-the-round background. As a kid quite interested in politics and political humor, I watched those specials, watched every one of them, until, finally, I decided that it was everyone else, not me, who was wrong.
Mark Russell isn't funny.
He's not. He's funny if your brand of humor is dropping a politician's name into a familiar song where it rhymes. Hey, I got an idea... how about "Kerry With the Fringe On Top"? Ah, no, wait, "Kerry With the Botox On Top"- yeah, there you go, topical AND funny, except not funny. That's not a Mark Russell gag as far as I know, but it might as well be. Don't take my word for it- here are some of his jokes, his self-selected jokes from his web site, so these are what he thinks are his BEST stuff:
As a diplomatic courtesy to Japan, the players agreed to use only domestic steroids.
See, the Yankees and Tampa Bay played in Japan, and there's a steroid scandal in baseball, and... um...
John Kerry pledged to lower corporate taxes by 5 percent. Don't tell me - starting with the Heinz Corp., right?
Yeah, because Kerry's wife is... well...
Bush critic, Richard Clarke once gushed over the president's performance, but the romance faded in time for Clarke's book. The same could be said of Bill Clinton who was once fond of Lewinsky.
All right, I'm baffled. The punch line is... what?
The reign in Spain throws friendship down the drain.
He's probably still chuckling over this one. Clever!
So, Spain has gone socialist. Meanwhile, in Russia, the young people are saying - "socialism! Why don't we try it here?"
We are certainly finding out who our friends are. We may have lost Spain, but we picked of Libya, remember. I wonder if Qadhafi knows the words to 'Kumbaya'?"
Listen, "Kumbaya" is a guaranteed laff-getter. This kinda stuff SLAYED 'em at the Shoreham.
And in Haiti, Aristide has been outsourced - literally. At the Port-au-Prince airport, the flights are labeled "first class," "coach" and "exiled."
'Cause he's in exile. Geddit?
Now that the war on terror includes gay marriage, the president has proposed a constitutional amendment to stop Rosie O'Donnell.
Lemme tell you, just bring up Rosie and you can't miss. Comedy gold!
He's not alone. If you can't book Mark Russell for your corporate shindig, you get the Capitol Steps. I had a morning man once who just loved this group and played cuts from them on his show. Here are representative song titles from their latest CD:
"God Bless My SUV"... "Clinton Thinks the French Have a Lot of Gaul"... "Hang Down Your Head, Tom Daschle"... "You Can't Fly With Giant Thighs"..."Bibbity Bobbity Spew"... "Condoleezza" (I don't have to hear it, it's gotta be "Mona Lisa," right?)... "Heard It on the Nightline"... "Speaker of the House"...
I'm sorry. Not funny. If this stuff's a laff riot to you, you're reading the wrong page.
So they'll be rolling in the aisles at the NAB dinner, the Lowrys and Eddies and Lews and other movers and shakers of the industry. Why, look, they'll say, he's funny AND he's perfectly decent, suitable for all the kiddies- we don't need that Stern or Bubba or Regular Guys stuff, not when it's perfectly plain that perfectly plain humor like Mark Russell is available.
Me, I'll be across town lining up for the buffet like all the other non-movers and non-shakers. Somehow, I think I'll be happier there.