If Monday night's New York governor's debate featuring seven candidates had been a Saturday Night Live skit, it would have been among the funnier ones.
There were the two major party candidates on the stage, Democrat Andrew Cuomo and Republican Carl Paladino sitting with a former madam of a well-known call-girl service.
Another candidate who looked like a black Col. Sanders had facial hair that was more sculpture than mustache, wore black gloves and represented the "Rent-Is-Too-Damn-High Party."
It was politics as comedy or as freak show which actually happens a lot more than we citizens probably want to admit.
A New York Times staffer wrote a headline for the story about the debate: "Albany Governor Debate Verges On Farce." It's the "verges on" part many people might quibble with.
Because of the unusualness of some of the candidates Paladino, the Buffalo businessman who has seemed on the fringe, if not beyond, to many an observer, actually looked rather tame.
Anyone who thought his confrontation with a reporter or his comments about gays made him seem wacky, got to see the really wacky Monday night. So, looked at in that way, Paladino may have benefited.
Cuomo, who has a double-digit lead in recent polls over Paladino probably benefited, too, for not seeming haughty or arrogant, especially given the cast of characters flanking him.
The NYT gives some flavor of a very strange night:
Kristin Davis, a former prostitution madam, made frequent brothel jokes.
Jimmy McMillan, the candidate of the Rent Is Too Damn High Party, responded to a question about same-sex marriage by declaring “If you want to marry a shoe, I’ll marry you.”
And Carl P. Paladino, the Republican candidate, startled those watching by accidentally walking off stage during the closing statements, in search of the men’s room.
“When you gotta go, you gotta go,” Mr. Paladino’s campaign manager, Michael R. Caputo, said afterward, by way of explanation.