- Associated Press - Sunday, March 23, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) - Mayor Bill de Blasio, the unabashedly liberal leader of the nation’s most populous city, was portrayed Saturday in the first act of the annual Inner Circle show as a steal-from-the-rich Robin Hood - but elicited big laughs in his rebuttal performance by poking fun of his own shortcomings with the help of some celebrity guests.

Playing before a crowd that included reporters and dignitaries such as former Mayor David Dinkins, Rep. Michael Grimm and Sen. Charles Schumer in the ballroom of the Manhattan Midtown Hilton, the Democratic de Blasio delivered a solid comedic performance by mocking his own tendency to be late and his goofy habit of making fun of himself.

In the process, he enlisted some help from celebrity guests that included actor and New York native Steve Buscemi, the Rev. Al Sharpton, Cynthia Nixon and The Roots band.

The Inner Circle show is New York City’s answer to the White House Correspondents dinner. In previous years, mayors have put on elaborate performances: Rudolph Giuliani donned drag, Ed Koch stepped out of the mouth of a man-eating plant and Michael Bloomberg wore a harness, flying 20 feet in the air while dressed as Spiderman.

Saturday’s show, dubbed “Stuck with de Bill,” featured a two-act reporters’ production followed by the mayor’s rebuttal show.

In the first part, the skit had Mr. Hood patrolling “Chirlane Forest,” a cheeky reference to his wife, Chirlane McCray, who was portrayed as seeking funds from Albany.

Other mayors have enlisted big names to help in years past: Dinkins did a fake newscast with Mary Tyler Moore, while John Lindsay did a song with actress Florence Henderson. But Giuliani’s turn as “Rudia” remains the show’s most unforgettable highlight.

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