New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and CNN host Chris Cuomo have quickly become the best political comedy act on television since the Smothers brothers.
Their most recent episode played Monday on Chris Cuomo’s 9 p.m. cable news show.
We all need a laugh these days and the “Cuomo Brothers Comedy Special" on CNN provided several good lines interspersed between serious talk about the governor’s much-praised handling of the coronavirus in New York State.
Along with the serious issues about the handling of the pandemic, they engaged in the kind of “mother likes me best” talk that made “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” so popular for three seasons from 1967-69.
It is safe to say that Gov. Cuomo has never received better reviews that he has for his handling of the pandemic, with praise even coming from those who previously couldn’t stand him.
At the start of Monday’s performance, Chris thanked his brother “for coming back on my show.”
“Mom told me I had to,” cracked his brother.
They often bring up their parents. Their father, the late New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, is referred to as Pop. Their mother, 88-year-old Matilda, is Mom.
At one point Monday, Christopher, as Andrew likes to call his younger brother, brought up all the positive reviews Andrew is receiving. The CNN host then asked Andrew why he thinks he is getting such glowing reviews after all these years.
Andrew replied that it was akin to what happened to their father after Mario’s memorable and widely praised speech at the 1984 Democratic Convention that nominated Walter Mondale for president.
Andrew recalled “Pop” always said it was the same speech he had always given; the forum was just larger.
It was a nice self-deprecating way to handle the question, but you got the sense that Chris had something else in mind.
After all, Chris previously gently criticized his brother by saying Andrew had sounded “deferential” to President Trump at times. Andrew didn’t like that word, but conceded it was his brother’s show.
Many viewers undoubtedly believe the governor is getting so much praise because he takes charge and accepts responsibility for his decisions during his press conferences, which compares favorably to the rambling press conferences by the president that includes obligatory praise from other speakers and a self-assessment that he deserves a 10 out of 10 for his handling of the crisis.
Chris seemed intent on trying to get his brother to bite and be honest about his feelings about President Trump’s handling of the crisis.
Andrew wasn’t biting, walking a fine line between asking for more from the president without going too far as to anger him.
It was a good give and take, sort of like imagining the way the brothers played one-on-one basketball when it was allowed. Their comedy debates included who was the better player.
“You’re better than me,” Andrew told his brother at one point.
“Only on the basketball court,” replied Chris. He later added his brother has “hands like bananas.”
"I'm going to spank you," said Andrew, which would have been one way to use his hands.
After some audio problems were fixed during the exchanges, Chris Cuomo asked, “Do you hear me, governor?”
“I hear you, but you should pay your phone bill!” replied Andrew.
Chris then blamed New York State’s system in Albany – where Andrew was speaking – for the problem.
At another point, Chris referred to the pandemic of 1918 before asking his brother a question about the current health crisis.
“I am old, but I wasn’t here in 1918,” replied Andrew.
I can’t imagine this act getting old anytime soon.