The debut of MSNBC’s “Up Late With Alec Baldwin” last night made for compelling television – if you happened to be a New Yorker obsessed with the city’s mayoral race.
Everything about the show was New York-centric. The open: black-and-white photographs of the city, backed by cool jazz. The set: an intimate, wood-paneled faux diner with spectacular views of the skyline. The host: a Long Island native who beats up New York paparazzi.
Given Baldwin’s star power and the amount of hype for “Up Late,” however, I hardly expected the guest for the premiere to be a New York City politico. But there he was, Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio, front and center for the next hour.
The presumptive mayor, while charismatic, holds little interest for viewers outside the five boroughs. Regardless, Baldwin, a self-proclaimed de Blasio man, practically tossed rose petals at the candidate’s feet.
What transpired could hardly be called an interview. Baldwin’s softball questions were setups for de Blasio’s long, uninterrupted stump speeches, disguised as responses. Job creation, affordable housing, economic inequality, early childhood education. All that was missing were the balloons.
As the show went on, some of the topics got more interesting – stop-and-frisk, for example. There were moments, but only moments, when Baldwin acted (no pun intended) more like a news network host and less like de Blasio’s campaign manager.
Then there’s the issue of Baldwin’s hair.