Mayor Bill de Blasio took his infamous “dad humor” to The Daily Show this evening, where he took jabs at the Upper East Side and his predecessor Michael Bloomberg, and proved he could eat pizza like a normal New Yorker: with his hands, according to a mayoral pool report.
“What else could we do to the Upper East Side?” asked host Jon Stewart, who earlier had joked about the new mayor shipping snow to the tony neighborhood, where some residents complained about cleanup after last month’s second major snowstorm.
“We have an experimental effort to get locusts in up there,” responded Mr. de Blasio, according to the report, earning audience cheers.
At one point Mr. Stewart noted that it had been snowing an awful lot since Mr. de Blasio’s inauguration on January 1. “I remember Bloomberg. 12 years. It never snowed once,” he offered.
“I think he paid the right guy. I mean, he had the money,” Mr. de Blasio, making his first appearance on the show since his election, quipped in response.
Mr. de Blasio, who is a fan of the show and wrote all of his own jokes, according to mayoral spokeswoman Rebecca Kirszner Katz, also took a couple of shots at his own caricature as a lefty radical.
“I don’t wear the Che Guevara T-shirt at work,” he noted when asked whether his election had frightened some members of the city’s old guard.
Asked how he was enjoying his new job, Mr. de Blasio marveled at the workload. “It’s nonstop. It’s 24-7. It’s the ultimate 24-7 job,” said the mayor. “But I love this place. I really love this place. And it’s endlessly fascinating to me, but I’d like the snow to end. I’ve done the snow experience, I’d like to try something else now.”
Later, Mr. Stewart pulled out a box of pizza in a reference to “pizzagate” and showed the new mayor how New Yorkers eat their slices, sans fork and knife. Mr. de Blasio obliged and “chomped into a big slice of the pizza with his hands,” the report said.
View the full pool report on the show, via The New York Times ‘ Michael Grynbaum:
Setting: Daily Show studios, West 52nd Street and 11th Avenue, Manhattan.
BDB arrived unseen around 5:45. At 6, Dante de Blasio and Chirlane McCray walked into the studios with an aide. Both were smiling. Backstage, staffers appeared to be preparing for a pizza gag: there was a delivery of a steaming cheese pie and a last-minute purchase of a pizza knife. Inside the studio, Dante and Chirlane were standing next to the audience risers, with a direct view to the set. The taping began at 6:06.
Jon Stewart [hereafter “Jon”] opened the show with a few jokes about his notable guest:
“The mayor, Bill de Blasio, is here apparently with a shovel.” Today’s storm, Jon adds, “has provided the mayor with a chance for some snow removal redemption.”
[cut to: clip of Ch. 2 coverage of today’s snowstorm]
Jon: “De Blasio got an earful from the tony East Side residents used to Mayor Bloomberg carrying them individually from their apartments to the chopper. … So did de Blasio handle today’s snowstorm better?”
[cut to: Samantha Bee, ostensibly reporting from Times Square. She said “business is booming” in what she called a “landmark district,” including places like “ye olde Disney store.”]
Jon asks: How’d it go out in Brooklyn today?
“Looking pretty good, Jon,” replied correspondent Jessica Williams, in beach clothes standing in front of a beach backdrop. “There are no traffic problems. In fact, it’s 82 degrees and it’s sunny.”
Jon: “Mayor de Blasio made it summer in Brooklyn? How is that possible?”
Jessica: “I don’t know, but the only snow in sight is right here.” She proceeds to eat a snow-cone. “The man loves Brooklyn, so, stay cool!”
Now onto Aasif Mandvi, who is “on” the Upper East Side.
“Not good, Jon,” he says, buried in a snowbank, only his head showing. “It seems de Blasio’s plows are actively bringing snow in.”
Jon: “Aasif, are you completely buried in a snowbank?”
Aasif: “I can’t move my legs, Jon. But hey, that’s life in de Blasio’s New York. He’s hellbent on making the city unlivable for the rich!” He adds, “Everyone’s so covered in snow that the Barneys security guards don’t even know who to detain anymore!”
Jon: “Everybody looks white, who do you hold?”
[There are machine gun sounds]
Aasif: “That’s the Somali warlords. They’ve kind of taken over Park Avenue.”
Jon asks why the Upper East Siders don’t just go downtown.
Aasif: “Downtown? No, no, Jon. They’re not going downtown.”
At 6:20pm, BDB came onstage in a red-and-white striped tie and grey suit. He is cheered by audience and greeted by Jon, who asks how the mayor is feeling.
BDB: “I’m feeling good. I just wish we’d done a better job getting that snow up to the Upper East Side.”
Jon notes that it has been snowing a lot since he was inaugurated. “I remember Bloomberg. 12 years. It never snowed once.”
BDB: “I think he paid the right guy. I mean, he had the money.”
Jon asks what it’s like to succeed Bloomberg: “How is it stepping into his tiny, tiny shoes?” He says the city is accustomed to Giuliani and Bloomberg, whereas with de Blasio, “You come in, you put up all the posters of Lenin, Stalin, whatever you’ve got in the office.”
BDB: “The Che Guevara posters are very popular, they really are.”
Jon: “Has it been overwhelming?”
BDB: “It’s nonstop. It’s 24-7. It’s the ultimate 24-7 job. But I love this place. I really love this place. And it’s endlessly fascinating to me, but I’d like the snow to end. I’ve done the snow experience, I’d like to try something else now.”
Jon: “What else could we do to the Upper East Side?”
BDB: “We have an experimental effort to get locusts in up there.” [audience cheered]
JON SWITCHES GEARS TO FORKGATE.
Jon: “Now Bloomberg, as you know, used to have his food chewed and put back into his mouth, like a baby bird. But this is unacceptable.” [Jon takes out a pizza box from John’s, sausage-and-mushroom, along with paper plates and a cake slice-serving utensil. The crowd enjoyed this.]
“I would love a slice,” said BDB, who picks up the slice utensil. Jon swats his hand: “What are you doing? I got to teach you everything?”
BDB: “As mayor of Napoli – I mean New York City — we are always ready for our pizza.” [BDB took out a knife and fork apparently planted in his jacket.]
Jon demonstrates the method of eating a pizza with his hands, then adds, mischievously: “Hey, Bloomberg’s gone, right?” Jon takes out an enormous 7-Up Double Gulp filled with soda. Loud cheers. BDB then chomped into a big slice of the pizza with his hands. The audience cheered.
Jon says he brought a super-sized soda for BDB, too. BDB picks it up — it’s a small soda cup.
“Oh, you are gigantic,” says Jon. “In his hands, it looks like a regular soda.”
FINAL SEGMENT (a bit more serious):
Jon asks about the carriage horses. “Will this be your Gitmo?” he asks BDB. “We are in this neighborhood and I hear their plaintive cries.”
BDB: “The waterboarding of the horses has to end.” He adds, “Horses do not belong in the middle of traffic in New York City. They do not belong in an urban environment like this. It’s not safe for them, it’s not fair when you think about what their lives should be and what our society is like.”
Jon: “That brings up an interesting point. Should we even be living here?” [BDB smiled at this]
Jon and BDB spoke about stop-and-frisk. BDB talked about the settlement announced last week. “You can’t break the law to enforce the law, as simple as that.” He added, “I would argue that public safety and civil liberties have to march hand in hand. You cannot separate or oppose the two. And in the stop and frisk era, we had two different forms of policing, that’s the reality, depending on the color of your skin.”
Jon: “How frightened are people when you walk in, because they must think now, you are coming in there and turning everything upside down, the uncertainty must be palpable.
BDB: “I don’t wear the Che Guevara T-shirt at work. I have thought about that.” He added, “I’m blessed to have a very strong mandate from the people to make some real progressive change.” He added, “This is all about acknowledging the inequalities that become very fundamental and unfortunately growing in our city.” He added, “Yes, there are some bureaucrats and others who are hesitant. But I know that the popular support is there.”
Jon pushed BDB about the battle over funding Pre-K, asking why the state and the city could not split the bill. “Why can’t we go 50-50 on this bad boy?” Jon asked.
BDB: “You know, I like the way you think.” He laughed, then went back to his traditional arguments: “Because we need to know the money is going to be there year after year.”
Jon notes that, as a wealthy person, he would potentially be funding the program. “Can I go to the Pre-K and be like, ‘You’re mine. And so you better those grades up. Because I’m on your ass.’” BDB: “We’re going to create a program for you.”
Jon asks if Bloomberg could have just paid for Pre-K thing himself, “thrown that in to a pot?” BDB: “It could have been a gratuity.”
Jon asks about fears that city could go back to a time “when it was less orderly and things were more chaotic and how do you tell people that is not the case?”
BDB: “Whenever you see a progressive moment, whenever you see progressive leaders come in to office, that charge is thrown in one way or another.” He adds: “It’s specious. It’s not true. The bottom line is, we know the great threat to this country is inequality, the great threat to this city is inequality.” He adds: “People need a core hope in our society. They need a core amount of visible opportunity. And that’s been slipping away. So if you want to talk about destabilizing realities in our society, talk about inequality. But progressives can run governments effectively, progressives can be fiscally responsible, progressives can focus on public safety, but we’re going to do it in a way that respects people’s rights.”
Jon nods and takes a bit bite of pizza. BDB gave a big smiled back at him. Jon: “I’ll have you back in three years, we’ll talk about it.”
Updated at 8:10 p.m. with comments from Ms. Kirszner Katz.