Mark Russell, the stand-up comic who has made a profession out of his take-no-prisoners scrutiny of Washington politicos, is due on the Buena Performing Arts Center stage Friday, February 9. The 7:30 PM benefit performance is sponsored by the Sierra Vista Symphony Association.
At his red, white and blue-draped piano, Russell sings, comments and whips off his snide one-liners like a fast-firing Gatling gun. No party or politician, bureaucrat or celebrity is safe from his humorous zings. The whole of the nation's capitol is fodder for his satirical grist mill, which keeps the average voter rolling with laughter.
From the clown of his fourth grade to a first-class commentator on America's political foibles, Mark Russell has moved from the Shoreham Hotel's main club room to PBS and beyond. He says he can't pick up a newspaper without discovering a giggle-wrapped comment bursting through the bland congressional reportage.
A genius for comedy, Russell hails from Buffalo, the city in which he performs his nationwide television commentaries. Russell's "dart-sharp act" made him the must-see entertainer by Washington's politicians, media celebrities and tourists for twenty years.
He says of himself that he "dodged the draft by joining the Marines," That military training continues to guide his stealth in capturing headline-makers at their greatest vulnerability: whenever their feet show up in their mouths or their actions betray their intellect, stated ethics, or party dogma.
Today, his recordings, syndicated column, book, PBS specials and performances on college campuses and before business groups have propelled him to the forefront of American humor in the mold of Mark Twain, Will Rogers, and Mort Sahl. He has become a national treasure. If Victor Borge was the Danish "Clown Prince," surely Mark Russell is America's "Quipster of the House."
How Sierra Vista became a beneficiary of Mr. Russell's wit is due to the fact that his son and Sunny and Ted Fichtl's son were fraternity brothers. Mrs. Fichtl is a member of the SVSA board of directors. That relationship led to the local benefit engagement.
Tickets are available from Fry's, Safeway, Oscar Yrun, FYE at the Mall, and the Sierra Vista Chamber of Commerce. Credit Card or check orders may be sent to the SVSA at Box 895, Sierra Vista, AZ 85636-0895. For this event, the two-tiered ticket prices are $40 for choice seating, and $30 for regular seating.