Clinton & Me
A Real Life Political Comedy
By Mark Katz
(Miramax Books, Hardcover, 9780786869497, 400pp.)
Publication Date: February 2004
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When you provide the comic relief for the Leader of the Free World, the line between funny and weird can get a little blurry. Consider the extraordinary experiences of Mark Katz, the in-house humor writer of the Clinton White House, whose job was to produce the president's comic response to the crisis du jour. For eight tumultuous years, he wrote Bill Clinton's annual series of humorous speeches to the Washington press corpsthose rare evenings in the nation's capital when the president trades in his bully pulpit for an open mike. In a town where C-SPAN passes for entertainment, Katz faced the sometimes surreal task of finding the funny in an administration rocked by politics and partisanship; Whitewater and Waco; Dr. Elders and Henry Hyde; andultimatelythe circus of impeachment. Here, too, are the unlikely adventures of an itinerant wiseass careening down the bumpy path that takes him from the principal's office to the Oval Office. After college, Katz hitched his wagon to Michael Dukakis's staronly to become the joke writer for a campaign that was a joke unto itself. Four years later, he was an unemployed advertising copywriter in need of a job when he got a call from a Clinton White House desperately in need of jokes. And the rest, as they say, is comedy.
With fearless and irreverent wit, Mark Katz chronicles the triumphs, tribulations, and power players of an eventful presidency from a unique vantage pointa lone humorist embedded deep inside the chaotic West Wing. Dramatic, revealing, intimate, and uproarious, Clinton & Me is an epic comic journey and a once-in-a-lifetime look at the funny business that is American politics.