Early in the Inner Circle’s annual show on Saturday, March 27, radio reporter Glen Schuck strolled onto the stage wearing a cowboy hat, cowboy boots and a pair of tighty-whities, covered up by a guitar hanging over his shoulder.
The rest of Mr. Schuck-a rail-thin frame and muscular thighs-was on display for the more than 500 attendees at the show, New York City’s version of the White House Correspondents Dinner: where politicians and reporters trade jokes that only those in the industry can truly appreciate while gnawing on slabs of prime rib and buying $9 glasses of wine-yes, it’s a cash bar!
Mayor Michael Bloomberg took the occasion to patch things up with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, whose rivals his aides have not so quietly been in touch with, greeting her with a kiss, posing for pictures and sitting next to her for the show.
The chairman of the State Democratic Party, Jay Jacobs, had an animated conversation with a New York 1 cameraman. Governor David Paterson was a no-show, but his former communications director, the dimpled Peter Kauffmann-who resigned, citing his “integrity”-was making the rounds, but not spilling dirt.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly circled the room, with his crooked smile and chunky watch. Rick Lazio, the former congressman running for governor, shook hands and dicussed his candidacy with a few people who recognized him in the men’s room.
The production onstage, meanwhile, hit a snag when the soundtrack to the video kept skipping, making it hard for the audience to pick up on some of the punch lines. But the jokes were obvious: kids in an airport control tower; replays of the unexpectedly close Bloomberg reelection; a photograph of Bloomberg looking at an anatomically correct male statue in wonderment.
Mr. Schuck’s revealing performance raised hopes of further nudity at this year’s show, and Mr. Bloomberg flirted openly with the notion, teasing the audience during his skit that the show he was spoofing-Hair-had an all-nude scene in its original incarnation.
Surrounded by a few bare-chested men and flowery-dressed “love children,” Mr. Bloomberg was wearing a long dark wig and a tie-dye shirt-which, alas, stayed on.
Then, at around 1 a.m., Jersey Shore stars Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi (in a miniskirt and a tight black shirt) and Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino walked onstage. As is his wont, Mr. Sorrentino lifted his shirt (white, untucked, and with a tie) to reveal his six-pack abs and dangerously low-riding jeans; Ms. Polizzi stood there, looking and laughing, and the crowd cheered and applauded.
Afterward, Mr. Schuck recalled bumping into Mr. Bloomberg backstage.
“All he really did was shake his head and say, ‘Oh, God,'” Mr. Schuck said. “Everyone in the cast kept asking me, ‘You really want to stand out onstage in your underwear?’ “
After 28 years in radio, he said, he felt he could take the risk. “I wasn’t nervous at all,” he said. Anything he does now “is that much easier.”