Welcome Back! Since its debut in February 2000, soundbiteinstitute.com has accumulated approximately 1,000,000,000 hits, rounding up to the nearest billion. And thatís only the beginning of the exciting Institute news:
Two of my favorite humor pieces have recently been selected for publication in the next edition of Mirth of a Nation, a biennial compilation of contemporary humor. The series is culled from published humor pieces selected by editors of The Thurber House, a literary center named for the legendary New Yorker editor and humorist James Thurber. The selected pieces, Near-Deathbed Requests and Hall of Near-Fame, will be published in February 2002 by HarperCollins.
Spring 2000 marked the swansong of the Silly Season, the last of eight consecutive years of assisting President Clinton and/or Vice President Gore with annual humor speeches to the Washington press corps. Speeches included a Gridiron speech for the Vice President and the Presidentís speeches to the Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner and the White House Correspondents Dinner. Most notably, the Presidentís White House Correspondentsí Dinner speech launched what might be described without fear of hyperbole as a national phenomenon: The Final Days, (a.k.a. "the Clinton video") that I co-wrote with White House speechwriter Jeff Shesol and television producer Phil Rosenthal, who was also itís director. After flooring the room that Saturday night, the video was put into heavy-rotation on cable news stations and morning shows well into the following week. It was also the topic for a hour-long discussion on Larry King Live and featured in People Magazine. But this video assumed the full mantle of pop culture phenomenon a few weeks later when it become the topic of a trivia question on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
New press clippings!
A slow news spring also gave rise to renewed media interest in the Sound Bite Institute and its resident scholar. Highlights include articles in the New Yorker, the New York Times, an appearance on Charlie Rose and a mention on Live with Regis and Kathy Lee. (In fact, I cracked the top 50 of Varietyís Top 50 Creatives to Watch.") While I am far from a celebrity, I am fast approaching the threshold of media attention once enjoyed by Jeff Gilhooly and Mason Reese.
After many years of working out of my home, I relocated the Sound Bite Institute to office space downtown. The new office, located at Madison and 28th Street, is located within a writersí loft filled with friendly, interesting free-lance writers. Itís primary benefit has been to re-acclimate me to working and wearing pants simultaneously. Reach me there at (212) 481-9692.
Last June, I set out on a writing assignment that was one of the great boondoggles of our day: tagging along on a week-long photo shoot onboard a six-star luxury cruise ship set for Alaskaís Inside Passage. My assignment: write an essay about the pampered culture of cruising to accompany a spread in the fall fashion supplement to the New York Times Magazine. I am telling you the truth, my hand to God.
For six days, I endured complimentary first-class accommodations, limitless fine food, unyielding service, seaplane rides over glacier-carved valleys, helicopter rides to glaciers, sportfishing expeditions, facials, pedicures, massages and full-body sea-weed wraps -≠ all in the name of comprehensive research. (Not to worry. I am fine.)
New York Times Op-Ed!
Click here to read my latest humor piece published in the New York Times.
New (failed) sitcom!
Last fall found me away from the Institute and in the writerís room of a fledging ABC sitcom, Madigan Men. Ten episodes later, ABC replaced it with a daring new programming idea: a fourth weekly episode of "Who Wants to Be A Millionaire. Oh, well. Thatís showbiz.
New speaking gigs!
Although painfully shy and ill-suited for self-promotion, I am making strides to overcome my essential nature and doing more and more public speaking. I have recently addressed audiences at events ranging from comedy festivals to college campuses to professional speechwriters conferences, regaling them with tales from my trip "From The Principalís Office to The Oval Office" and highlighted with a showing of "The Final Days" video. The speech is a unique (and funny) retrospective of the Clinton administration, and almost always a hit. Please contact the Institute for more details about bookings.
Friend, colleague and collaborator Jeff Shesol, former White House Deputy Director of the White House Office of Speechwriting, is joining the hallowed virtual halls of the Sound Bite Institute.
Also officially joining the roster is long-time member of the Institute braintrust, Harris M. Cohen. Harrisí creativity comes in the form of business development and marketing skills.
If youíre like me, you visit the Sound Bite Institute web site ten, twelve times a day. But letís face it: the address www.soundbiteinstitute.com can be unwieldy -- especially towards the end when you have to spell out "institute" and get easily confused about what vowel follows which "t." Thatís why I established the additional web address www.markkatz.com, a mirror URL that brings you to my little corner of cyberspace in eight letters rather than eighteen. And I donít know about you, but I find it easier to spell.
Al Gore lost. Oh, well. Hanging out in the Oval Office was fun while it lasted.
Until the next web page update, I remain
Your resident scholar,
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