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Buffalo-born comedian, political satirist Mark Russell dead at 90

Russell was born in Buffalo, NY on August 23, 1932.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Mark Russell, one of the nation's most famous political satirists for more than 50 years, died Thursday. He was 90.

The Buffalo native and comedian was best known for his comedy specials on PBS. 

His routines covered the latest news and political leaders of the day with song parodies based on musical standards with new lyrics customized for current events, while accompanying himself on the piano, according to a news release from the National Comedy Center in Jamestown, where he served as an advisory board member.

Though he retired in 2016, he continued to write and perform new song parodies which he posted on social media as recently as last October.

"Mark Russell transformed the landscape of political humor in America and, in doing so, influenced a generation of comedic artists. His musical satires, beloved for decades by those inside and outside of Washington, made him comedy's greatest lyricist, and the artist most responsible for elevating the White House Correspondents' Dinner as a premiere platform for comedy when he performed at the dinner 40 years ago. His comedy legacy is unique and incomparable," said National Comedy Center Executive Director Journey Gunderson.

Russell's work is preserved in the center's archives with selections of his hand-written lyrics currently on display in its museum.



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