Mark Russell (born August 23, 1932) is an American comedian, pianist and singer, based in Buffalo, New York. For more than 25 years he has appeared on the American public broadcasting network PBS at least twice a year. He is known for playing the piano and singing in between periods of talking, and for making new words for popular melodies, which are meant to express the political situation that he is talking about. Russell criticizes the United States Democratic Party and the United States Republican Party fairly equally, and also criticizes third party and independent politicians, e.g. Ralph Nader. He has often been compared to Tom Lehrer.
Russell has often been asked the question, "Do you have any writers?" His standard response is "Oh, yes...I have 535 writers. 100 in the Senate and 435 in the House of Representatives!"
A few examples of Mark Russell's style of humor:
Early in the Reagan administration, there was a news story about a power problem at the White House which was causing the lights to dim, etc. Russell remarked, "Of course, the last power shortage we had at the White House lasted four years!"
In talking about Reagan's "trickle down" theory of economics, Russell said the way it works is that "Money held by someone like Nelson Rockefeller will trickle down... trickle down... trickle down... to Jay Rockefeller!"
"You've got the brain-washed, that's the Republicans, and the brain-dead, that's the Democrats!"
On the day after the 1996 presidential election: "I believe that Bill Clinton's second term will be good for business... my business!"
Mark Russell, class of 1950, is a graduate of Canisius High School located on 1180 Delaware Avenue Buffalo, New York. For several years, on the Sunday before Labor Day, he has made an annual appearance on the NBC news program "Meet the Press," hosted by Tim Russert, also a Canisius High graduate.