We all know the story of the rock band that demanded M&Ms candy backstage with all the brown pieces removed. That story was true, and the band was Van Halen.
But musicians aren't the only ones to make ridiculous demands when they appear for an event. The entire Clinton family has their own lists of demands and special treatment they require in addition to their outsized speaking fees.
Bill Clinton changed the game when it comes to former presidents and their speaking fees. Before him, former commander-in-chiefs would receive about $60,000 for a speech (most of them didn't need the money anyway). But Bill wanted more, so when he signed on with the Harry Walker Agency after he left the White House, he and his handlers demanded $100,000 per speech.
They got it. The money was for six speeches in 2002 at the Foothill-Deanza Community College District, the University of California-Davis and a for-profit organization. In order to pay for Bill's high fees, the community college and university sold tickets and cut back spending on other speakers and entertainers.
To be clear, none of these groups regretted paying for Bill to speak, but the process of actually getting him there was frustrating.
For one thing, Bill's staff required approval for all questions asked of the former president, and even provided suggested questions such as: "Is the world a better place now than when you entered politics, with a view to making a difference?"
Gee, I wonder how he answered. It seems even Bill was unhappy with how boring and generic the questions were during his first speech, and allowed a tougher question during the next one. It was about his pardon of Marc Rich, who had been indicted on tax evasions. While Bill was responding, one of his advisors came up to the moderator "whacked" him on the back of his head, and reportedly said: "Get him off the stage; he is dying out there."
Bill also charged a $1400 phone bill (created in a single day) and a $700 dinner for two. He demanded a private jet to fly him from San Francisco to UC-Davis, even though it was only 70 miles away.
His speaking agency called these "reasonable expenses."
Bill also had a list of who to be seen with and who not to be seen with. A big donor for one of Bill's speaking venues was floated as a potential limo companion, whereas then-California Gov. Gray Davis was on the keep-away list.
And money was so important to Bill that the behavior of event organizers didn't matter. One organizer claimed that "Our audiences are white" and that "some of them actually have morals/ethics," which was reported by the Los Angeles Times as being racist. The Times said it was part of a rant, so there's probably more context somewhere.
This same event organizer referred to two of Bill's male aides as "Monica, Monica," in reference to Monica Lewinsky, with whom Bill had a White House affair.
The matriarch of the Clinton family, who is currently running for president, also has a list of specific demands for whenever she gives a speech costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Hillary charged the University of California-Los Angeles $300,000 as part of a "special university rate." How kind of her.
She received upwards of $600,000 when speaking to Goldman Sachs, and refuses to release the transcripts of those speeches, sparking conflict-of-interest claims among her detractors.
But the high costs are not Hillary's only demands. She also requires lemon wedges, room temperature water, a hot-water dispenser and a coffee cup and saucer on stage when she gives a speech. The podium where she speaks must be to her liking, as well. She also requests a computer, mouse, printer and scanner (though based on her email scandal it's not clear if she knows how to use all of them) and a teleprompter with "2-3 downstage scrolling monitors."
Backstage she wants a spread of hummus, room-temperature sparkling and still water, diet ginger ale, crudites, sliced fruit, coffee, tea and chairs with long pillows and cushions in case she "needed additional back support."
Hillary's team requires prior approval of promotional materials for her events and only allows recording "for archival purposes." Only two minutes can be uploaded to YouTube as part of a highlight reel.
Most condescending of all, Hillary demands "prestaged" group photos so she doesn't have to wait "for these folks to get their act together." Mrs. Clinton "doesn't like to stand around waiting for people."
Maybe that's why she's really running for president, to never have to wait on anyone again.
The youngest and least successful Clinton is no stranger to being treated like a diva. In that respect, she takes after mom and dad. When it comes to public speaking or talent, well, she definitely missed the trait-inheritance train.
While it's unclear what demands Chelsea made or what perks she received when she was an NBC News "special correspondent," it is clear that she was paid $600,000 a year for what amounted to 58 minutes of air time.
Her speaking fees don't rise to the rate of mommy and daddy Clinton, but they are still too high for someone who has never accomplished much of anything on her own. For the bargain price of $65,000 (remember, former presidents were earning $60,000 before Bill), a university can hire Chelsea to speak. That's more money than Tina Brown and Gloria Steinem charge.
And that $65,000 buys one only a 10-minute speech and a 20-minute question-and-answer session. An additional 30 minutes is allowed for photos, but only for "VIPs."
Ashe Schow is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.