If you’re a fan of cringe TV, you might want to tune in to the next mayoral debate.
Mayor Bill de Blasio squared off against challengers Republican Nicole Malliotakis and independent Bo Dietl Tuesday night and there were more than a few cringe-worthy moments to go around.
The debate — which was sponsored by NY1 Sponsor Group and aired on NY1, NY1 Noticias and WNYC — was held at the Symphony Space theater on the Upper West Side.
After months of criticism on policy from all sides, this was the first time the three rivals have been in the same room together to take on the issues most important to city voters.
Scroll down for the highlights.
Crowd boos de Blasio during his opening statement
Starting off strong, a very vocal and riled-up audience at the Symphony Space theater booed de Blasio as he tried to deliver his opening statement at the beginning of the debate.
An audience member is ejected during the debate
The audience was nothing short of rowdy and debate moderator Errol Louis had to warn them on numerous occasions that they would be kicked out if they continued to scream and interrupt the candidates as they answered questions. “I’m hoping we don’t have to remove people from the audience,” Louis said.
About halfway through the debate, a man who yelled “you’re going to jail!” at de Blasio was ordered removed from the theater by Louis.
“Goodbye, goodbye, you have a nice evening,” Louis said as he waved at the man being removed. “Goodnight, sir.”
Dietl fixes Malliotakis’ mic
As Malliotakis began to answer the first question in the debate, which was on homelessness, members of the crowd shouted they couldn’t hear her properly. But have no fear, Dietl was there to lean over and fix her mic. “Can you hear me now?” she joked afterward.
Malliotakis asks de Blasio if he’s afraid of Gov. Andrew Cuomo
While discussing the city’s subways, Malliotakis mentioned de Blasio’s feud with the governor with a stinging remark: “Are you afraid of Gov. Cuomo?”
De Blasio accuses Dietl of being “no better than Donald Trump”
After a panelist brought up comments Dietl made about an African-American judge who he said he knew wouldn’t side with him because she “looked like” de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, the mayor responded: “If you say a judge is gonna make a decision based on her gender or the color of her skin, you’re no better than Donald Trump.”
The reference sent Dietl into a rage. The candidate ranted, red-faced, until Louis threatened to cut off his mic. Dietl continued to rant into the mic even after it was turned off, and he could be heard shouting, “You’re a lying Big Bird!” at de Blasio.
Dietl says he and de Blasio should go to Rikers Island together
After being asked if he supported closing Rikers Island, Dietl said the city has to “fix what we got,” and added that he and de Blasio should stay in the jail complex.
“I’d like to go to Rikers Island with the mayor. I’ll lock up for two days. Me and you. General population,” he shouted.
Dietl also called the former jails commissioner Joseph Ponte a “nincompoop.” Ponte left the job in May after it was learned that he used city-issued cars for improper out-of-state trips.
“The guy was guarding some mooses up there,” Dietl said about Ponte, who is from Maine. “Well what do you think, Mr. Mayor? Why it’s not running well? The guy was fishing in Maine while we were paying him on our city cars.”
Malliotakis accuses a panelist of supporting de Blasio
After another question was posed to Malliotakis on her support for Trump, the Republican candidate accused panelist Grace Rauh, a politics reporter for NY1, of “carrying the mayor’s water.” Dietl then mimed bringing de Blasio a bottle of water from his own podium as Malliotakis apologized for the shot at Rauh.
Dietl tries to answer a question that wasn’t asked yet
When debate panelist Gloria Pazmino, of Politico New York, introduced that the next topic would be about subway delays, Dietl immediately tried to cut her off to answer the question. The only problem being that no question had been posed yet: “Hold on, I haven’t asked the question yet,” Pazmino cuts back.
Dietl reminds the audience that de Blasio is a Red Sox fan
Dietl was given the opportunity to make the first opening statement out of all of the candidates, which he used to remind everyone that de Blasio is a Red Sox fan, not a Yankees fan: “Let’s go, Yankees!”