Giuliani had Rudia; Dinkins had a big horse; Koch had Cosell. You can be sure that Bill de Blasio will bring Steve Buscemi and Cynthia Nixon on stage for help when he performs for the first time in the annual Inner Circle show on Saturday night.
Since 1922, the charity dinner is an annual rite of passage for New York mayors who are roasted on stage in a series of skits and songs by members of the New York City political press corps -- who generally prove that it's a good thing that they didn't try to go into show business. (Full disclosure: I'm a member and I've stretched the limits of imagination over the years by playing such mild-mannered characters as James Dolan, Dick Cheney and Andrew Cuomo.)
After a seemingly interminable two acts, the mayor is then invited to fire back. For decades, the mayor's response was generally an acid-tongued rebuttal delivered in the form of a speech. But John Linsday changed things in 1966 by doing a song-and-dance show with actress Florence Henderson.
Since then, the mayor's show has been a much-anticipated production with David Dinkins riding in a horse from "The Will Rogers Follies" and Rudy Giuliani dropping everyone's jaws by appearing in a faux-Marilyn Monroe getup.
While he couldn't really hold a tune, Michael Bloomberg was extremely game and performed with the casts of Broadway shows, including "The Producers" and flying away on an umbrella with the "Mary Poppins" team.
After a hectic couple of months in office, Mayor de Blasio has a chance to charm the press corps and the power elite at the dinner on Saturday by putting on a killer show. If a very funny preview video he released with actor Steve Buscemi is any indication, it could be an entertaining night. No pressure, Mr. Mayor. Break a leg.