Mark Katz was born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Rockland County, New York. The second son of a suburban orthodontist, he received a B.A. in Government at Cornell University in 1986. From 1981-82, he served as president of the math honor society, Mu Alpha Theta, at Clarkstown High School North.
Mark Katz’s career began in journalism: he first worked as a news clerk in the Washington bureau of the New York Times. He then worked in politics, serving as a special assistant to U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, then on the “rapid response team” of the Michael Dukakis presidential campaign of 1988. Katz moved from there to work as an advertising copywriter at the Sawyer/Miller Group, Hal Riney & Partners/SF and McCann-Erickson/NY. From 1993-2000, he was a creative consultant to the Democratic National Committee, assisting then-President Bill Clinton with his annual series of humorous speeches to the Washington Press Corps. These speeches were given, among other places, at the White House Correspondents Association, the Gridiron Club, and the Alfalfa Club. Katz has also written humorous speeches for then-Vice President Al Gore, James Wolfensohn of the World Bank, Madeleine Albright, Tom Freston, and Barbra Streisand.
Katz’s humorous essays have been published in Time Magazine, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, and Washington Monthly; he is also an occasional op-ed contributor to The New York Times. He has published two books (see below), including one on his experience as the in-house humorist of the Clinton White House. He has appeared on NPR’s Fresh Air and the stage of the HBO Aspen Comedy Festival. He is also a frequent storyteller at The Moth, a popular storyteller’s forum based in New York City.
The Soundbite Institute
Drawing upon his unusual combination of skills in humor, speechwriting, corporate and strategic communications, Mark Katz started The Soundbite Institute in 1993. The Soundbite Institute is a unique creative consulting boutique that applies comic sensibilities to strategic communications for a roster of corporate and political leaders and other high-profile individuals.
- Official website of The Soundbite Institute
- Washington Monthly Article written by Katz
- 92Y blog interview