Ed Koch was the mayor of New York during the early days of the AIDS crisis, but his real nightmare is actually happening right now!
Two classic plays that trash his response to the crisis are being concurrently revived, to great acclaim!
Firstly, Angels in America has a line in which closeted Koch is sexually poked fun at (it brings the house down every time), and there’s another one in which the black nurse calls him a racist.
And Ed figures even more prominently in The Normal Heart by Larry Kramer, currently on Broadway.
He’s seen as a do-nothing who evaded the AIDS situation for political reasons, partly because he didn’t want to be associated with something gay and also because he wanted to protect New York tourism from anything potentially icky.
In the play, the Kramer character and his activist cohorts go for a meeting with the Koch character (who’s never seen), only to be left waiting for aeons, then finally greeted by the mayor’s assistant.
The assistant — who, it turns out, is also a closeted gay — obfuscates the issue and totally blows them off.
Ed probably shouldn’t leave the house for quite a while.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 6, 2011