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A History of Monica Lewinsky in Pop Culture

May 7 2014 - 5:35pm

After a 10-year hiatus, Monica Lewinksy is back. Now 40, the former White House intern and Bill Clinton lover has written a piece in Vanity Fair [1] reflecting on her experience. She wrote: "It's time to burn the beret and bury the blue dress." But let's be honest. Monica will never leave the public consciousness, and whether or not she was fairly treated following the affair, she captured a place in American history. Let's take a look at her pop culture legacy.

Source: Getty/ RJ Capak [2]

Jokes on Jokes on Jokes

Did you hear that joke about Monica Lewinsky? Of course you did. The White House intern gave comedians the material of their dreams. But by the new millennium we heard about every cigar joke you could tell. During Jay Leno [3]'s tenure he told 4,607 Bill Clinton jokes (his favorite topic of all) and 454 Monica Lewinksy jokes, putting her at number seven on his top target list. Many of the jokes [4] were extremely harsh toward Monica. In the clip above, Chris Rock [5] points out just how ridiculous the scandal was.

And in this video, a very young Jon Stewart [6] gives Monica some advice.

Must-See Tell-Alls

A month after she was acquitted on perjury charges, Monica finally broke her silence in March 1999 on 20/20. In a much-anticipated sit-down with Barbara Walters, Monica dished on her feelings for President Clinton: "Sometimes I have warm feelings, sometimes I'm proud of him still, and sometimes I hate his guts. And, um, he makes me sick."

An HBO Documentary

In 2002, Monica taped a documentary for the premium cable channel titled Monica in Black and White. In it, she answered studio audience questions about life before, during, and after her affair with President Clinton.

SNL Skits

Monica was impersonated by Molly Shannon a total of 15 times from Feb. 7, 1998, to Jan. 15, 2000 — once with John Goodman playing Linda Tripp [7] (who infamously taped Monica) in drag, In 2002, Rachel Dratch played Monica in a sketch where Monica herself also appeared.

A Fox Reality Show

"After years of trying to cash in on her fame by designing handbags and other self-marketing schemes, Ms. Lewinsky has finally found a fitting niche on television," The New York Times said of Monica's role on the reality show Mr. Personality. Monica was the host of the show that featured women who picked suiters among masked men. Unfortunately, the ratings didn't last.

Lyrics in Pop Songs

A search on Rap Genius brings up 41 song results with "Monica Lewinsky" in the lyrics. They include jams by Eminem [8], Kid Cudi, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, and of course, Beyoncé's "Partition." In her VF piece, Monica called out Beyoncé: "Thanks, Beyoncé, but if we're verbing, I think you meant 'Bill Clinton'd all on my gown,' not 'Monica Lewinsky'd.'"

On the Cover of Magazines

On its Feb. 8, 1999, cover, The New Yorker ran a mashup of Monica and the mysterious Mona Lisa. During the entire affair, Monica helped turn news magazines like Time into tabloid-like publications, as they chronicled the sordid details of her affair. Monica, pictured below in the newest Vanity Fair, is still taking up glossy pages.

Source: Mark Seliger exclusively for Vanity Fair [9]


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