New York City mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday evening that people are “missing the point” of a joke he told during a weekend comedy skit with Hillary Clinton, which was widely interpreted as racially charged.
“It was clearly a staged show, it was a scripted show. The whole idea was to do the counterintuitive,” de Blasio said on CNN.
“Every actor involved, including Hillary Clinton and Leslie Odom Jr., thought it was a joke on a different convention, that was the whole idea of it, so I think people are missing the point here,” he continued.
The bit was part of the annual Inner Circle dinner on Saturday, which also involved de Blasio rapping along with Odom Jr., a star of the Broadway hit “Hamilton.”
Clinton made a surprise appearance on stage, and joked to the mayor, “Thanks for the endorsement, Bill. Took you long enough,” which drew cheers and laughs from the crowd.
De Blasio responded with the crack, “Sorry Hillary, I was running on C.P. time,” a reference to the negative stereotype “Colored People Time.”
In video of the skit, Clinton slowly turns away from de Blasio and Odom Jr., who is black, says, “That’s not – I don’t like jokes like that, Bill.”
After another beat, Clinton replied, “Cautious politician time. I’ve been there.”
Watch the full skit online via the NYC Mayor’s Office, with the joke starting around eight minutes in: