The Omaha Press Club will welcome special performers to the stage Saturday night for its annual spoof — famed investor Warren Buffett and his now-famous secretary, Debbie Bosanek.
When the Oracle of Omaha weighed in on the national debate over taxing the wealthy, he mentioned what he saw as an incongruity — his longtime secretary paid a higher income tax rate than he did. The White House then invited Bosanek to Washington, D.C., in January to sit near the first lady during President Barack Obama's state of the union speech.
Because some disagreed with her boss' stance that the super-wealthy should be taxed more, Debbie unwittingly found herself in the middle of a national controversy. Now she will speak out at the humorous show Saturday, delivering a "Top 5" list related to taxes.
Warren, meanwhile, will sing a parody. Organizers aren't revealing the topic, but we can guess — the show's title this year is "Warren's Herald," because his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. in December bought The World-Herald.
The show, which has poked fun at public figures and issues since 1957, raises money for journalism scholarships.
Chris Christen, the show's executive producer and a magazine editor here at the paper, said Press Club writers and Buffett collaborated on the lyrics to his parody. He will be in costume.
"When I took it to him for a fitting, he was thoroughly delighted," Chris said. "Warren is a quick wit and totally 'gets' the show. He loves to poke fun."
Tickets to the show at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs are $150, of which $115 is tax-deductible. Cocktails and a silent auction start at 5:15 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 and the show at about 8:15. For reservations, call 402-339-9875.
The Omaha Press Club Show has enjoyed a long tradition since it began 55 years ago at the old Birchwood Club near Miller Park in north Omaha — and only one person has attended each and every show.
That is retired stockbroker Bruce Haney, 77. He and wife Marlene are the honorary co-chairs of this year's show.
Attendees at the first show, Bruce said, were mainly folks in the news media and advertising. But it quickly gained in popularity and for years drew big crowds at the old Peony Park ballroom when it was called the Press Club Ball.
The production is definitely for laughs, but biting humor occasionally has upset public officials. As the show's longtime slogan says, "Remember, it's all in fun — it's just not fun for all."
Because many elected officials have attended and served as targets of wisecracks over the years, the show's files could amount to a kind of political history of Nebraska. The show has included memorable moments of humor, but also shock and sadness with the 1987 death of U.S. Sen. Edward Zorinsky.
Two days before Zorinsky died, Bruce said, he'd had lunch with him in Washington, D.C., and noted that Ed had a gray pallor. In parting, the senator said he would see Bruce at the Press Club Show that Friday, "the good Lord willing."
Immediately after Zorinsky sang onstage in the show, he suffered a heart attack and then died at a hospital. He was only 58.
Many politicians and other public figures have come and gone over the years and, as Zorinsky did, most have enjoyed the show's humor. Bruce Haney has seen them all.
In costumes, song and dance, Saturday's all-in-fun-but-not-fun-for-all show won't necessarily throw a lot of dirt — but it will definitely cover a lot of ground. And cause lots of laughs.
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